Fixed charges

What are fixed charges?

Solar homeowners review fixed charges at the diner table


State public utilities commissions or state legislatures can allow utilities to unfairly levy fixed charges against solar owners.

Fixed charges are monthly fees you incur no matter how much power you consume. Increasingly, utilities are attempting to restructure electricity bills so that more of each bill is made up of these charges. These fees directly affect how much of your bill you can reduce through solar generation, efficiency upgrades, and conservation. They discourage efficiency and limit homeowners’ ability to save money by producing a portion of their own power through solar. Some utilities propose to more than double the fixed charges for ratepayers.

Fixed charges have been used to:

  • Subsidize non-competitive power plants and extend their operation;
  • Prop up insolvent utilities that have made bad investments; and
  • Subsidize utilities’ construction of utility-owned renewable energy, which limits homeowners’ ability to benefit from distributed solar.

Our work

Solar United Neighbors is tracking attempts to raise fixed charges across the country.  Increases can occur either through state public utilities commissions or directly through state legislatures.

  • Solar United Neighbors of Ohio is currently engaged in a campaign in Ohio against new rate structures that seek to double fixed charges.

Fixed charges take many forms, but the end result is that you as the consumer lose control of your electric bill despite usage or offsetting solar power. Fixed charges are generally not fair, because they do not let you save money by using less energy.

Resources

Learn more about fixed charges and what is being proposed across the country:

Learn more about fixed charges in your state

Ohio

Ohio

Virginia

Virginia

West Virginians fight (and win) against unfair utility fees

In 2014, we fought West Virginia utility companies that required homeowners to pay for unnecessary industrial scale metering equipment, if they wanted net metering of sol ...
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