Letters to the Editor: California's 'better' solar plan is still a giveaway to utilities

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: Juan Alcantara, left, intern/trainee, Sal Miranda, supervisor, and Lee Kwok, solar installer supervisor, of GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit, install solar panels that will generate 5 kilowatts of energy at a low-income home in Watts on Friday, June 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. A total of 15 327 watt panels were placed on the roof. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Workers install a home solar electricity system in Watts on June 18, 2021. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Kudos to The Times editorial board for revealing the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) shameful responsiveness to the triad of investor-owned utilities in California.

Fearful that their profit margins will decline and their monopolistic hold on the state's power grid will be loosened by competition with renewables, Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric are, in effect, penalizing customers who are utilizing the clean power of the sun.

Penalties imposed by investor-owned utilities, euphemistically labeled "net energy metering," will impede the transition away from fossil fuels that is required for California to meet its climate goals.

The sad truth is that the reduced payments for excess energy generated by rooftop solar will disincentivize our public even more from moving to clean energy. Instead, solar subsidies need to be increased to make rooftop panels affordable for all Californians.

In this climate crisis, a livable environment trumps utility profits.

Tom Osborne, Laguna Beach


To the editor: Thank you for your rational editorial response to a completely irrational CPUC policy. The state will make it harder for people to install rooftop solar while the federal government is subsidizing it, and while expanding rooftop solar is one of California's major goals.

If the CPUC were really interested in helping low- and middle-income folks go solar, they'd make it more financially attractive to them.

The CPUC should focus its policies on preventing further climate chaos rather than preserving utilities' monopoly power.

Cher Gilmore, Newhall


To the editor: While I agree fully with your view that we must not weaken incentives for rooftop solar installation, I also think the point needs to be made that home solar's usefulness is not just climate change mitigation.

It is also important to energy security in the face of terrorism or natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires.

Carl Allender, Glendale

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.