Court rejects Wisconsin utility’s fee on solar customers

In a victory for solar advocates in Wisconsin, today a Dane County Circuit Court judge overturned fees on customers with solar installations in We Energies’ service territory.

The ruling was the result of an appeal filed by The Alliance for Solar Choice and Renew Wisconsin.

It invalidated part of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s December 2014 approval of We Energies’ rate case, which also included increased fixed charges and other provisions that advocates say have undermined the development of distributed solar in the state.

The groups argued that the new fee specifically on people with solar installations was “discriminatory,” and that We Energies had not provided proof that such fees were necessary to make sure those customers paid their “fair share” for upkeep of the grid.

“This is a critical victory for Wisconsin electricity customers that sends a signal to utilities everywhere trying to stop solar competition,” said TASC spokesperson Amy Heart in a statement.

TASC has also filed a similar appeal in Hawaii.

“After three years of constant attacks from monopoly utilities, not a single state has stopped rooftop solar,” she said. “Hawaii will be reversed for the same reason that Wisconsin was reversed today – trying to bail out utilities from rooftop solar competition without conducting a study of the costs and benefits of solar.”

We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said in an emailed statement that “we are reviewing our options” in light of the ruling.

“We believe sufficient information was provided for the [Public Service] Commission to include a demand charge on customer generation,” the statement continues. “It should be noted that the judge did not remand or vacate any other portion of the Commission’s order and other than the demand charge, the new tariffs for customer-owned generation will go into effect as planned January 1.”

4 thoughts on “Court rejects Wisconsin utility’s fee on solar customers

  1. This is a good step. How is the Solar City suit against SRP progressing?

  2. I’m a solar customer of SECO, central florida. They installed a cheater meter when I installed solar. For several weeks everything was OK with the original meter and then they changed it for the penalty meter> They charge 11 cents and pay me 8 cents for my extra plus penalty charge 10%. I want to sue and change this. SECO gets it’s electricity from coal.

  3. I suggest everyone go to the Edison Electric Institute website.
    In the document section, look for “disruptivechallenges.pdf”
    This document states clearly the attitude of the entire investor owned electric utility industry on distributed generation with Photovoltaic systems.
    The investor owned electric utility industry itself expects solar PV, combined with newer battery technology which is expected in the next 5-10 years(battery-electric vehicle technology is driving that development), to end the entire electric utility industry in 30 years.
    Stock rating companies have already downgraded electric utility stocks one grade.
    As utility rates continue to rise, the electric utility industry expects a “exponential grid defection”.
    People have an alternative source for energy that is falling in price, while grid-supplied electricity is climbing rapidly in price.
    People can get solar PV as a 20 year lease for a system:lease payments less than the utility supplied electricity monthly bill.
    SolarCity is doing this in 7 states where the grid supplied electric rates are the highest in the USA.
    Once you look at “disruptivechallenges.pdf”, you will understand why the investor owned electric utility industry is fighting solar PV, and the coming solar PV/Battery systems tooth and toenail. And will continue doing so until their demise. And the investor owned electric utility industry itself is saying this.