ATLANTA (AP) — Georgians who install solar panels on their homes or businesses should not have to pay a special feel proposed by Georgia Power, utility regulators said Friday.
The Southern Co. subsidiary wants to assess a charge that would add roughly $22 a month to the bill of someone who builds a typical residential solar system starting next year. The utility says customers with solar panels still need to pay a fair share of the costs of running an electric grid even if they are buying less electricity from the power company.
The staff of the Public Service Commission has recommended against adopting that charge, saying Georgia Power has not proven that solar customers are dodging any costs.
"Clearly, such a rate and policy would provide a significant deterrent for residential customers to actively engage in renewable energy alternatives and also deter their attempts to reduce their electric bills," said Jamie Barber, the PSC's renewable energy manager, and Glenn Watkins, an economist, in written testimony. "This policy simply is not in the public interest."
Solar energy now accounts for less than 1 percent of the power available on the utility's grid, meaning it's unlikely to radically affect costs, Barber and Watkins said.
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