Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of companies are pulling fees out of their collective asses these days? It’s mostly the airlines, but there are other companies doing it like the folks at Xcel Energy in Colorado who have decided that they are going to charge the homeowners who have solar cells on their houses a fee for being connected to the power grid:
Tom Henley, an Xcel Energy spokesman, initially told 7NEWS that implementing the fee would level the playing field for electricity users who are currently subsidizing connectivity fees for solar users, who sometimes use no electricity in a given month and therefore, pay no electrical fees.
“We just don’t think it’s fair that customers that don’t have solar panels on their homes should subsidize these solar panel customers any further,” said Henley.
But when pressed, Henley admitted that currently, no Xcel electric customers pay extra to fund solar connectivity fees. In reality, Xcel absorbs those fees. The money from the proposed fee would not go into the pockets of electric customers, but would go back to Xcel.
Henley said the fee is a preventative measure to ensure that, down the road, solar customers do not get free rides.
“What we’re looking to do is stop that, avoid that occurrence from happening,” he said.
No, no. What you’re doing is attempting to get something for nothing. And your customers know it:
Mike Jacoby, who installed solar panels on the roof of his home two years ago, bristled at the notion that he is not doing his part.
Jacoby said the installation cuts his monthly electrical fee by anywhere from 33 to 50 percent a month. In return, his home acts as a power plant, generating energy for Xcel that can power some of the homes on his block.
“Mine are generating enough to feed five or six houses around me electricity, so there’s no free ride,” said Jacoby.
“That’s less energy that Xcel Energy has to produce. That’s less coal that they have to burn,” agreed Dan Ferguson, a solar consultant with Vibrant Solar.
Yeah, someone’s upset they’re not making money off the solar power users. Fortunately it looks like the solar power folks are going to fight the fee and I hope they win. This is a bullshit fee for bullshit reasons.