The Coast News Group

Letters to the Editor

Elias commentary

Thank you, Mr. Elias, for your spot-on column revealing the lobbying behind AB327 and related ongoing anti-consumer efforts of the investor-owned power companies. Increasing the base metering fee reduces the sensitivity of one’s bill to usage — why should I continue to spend $10 each on LED light bulbs when 2/3 of my monthly electric bill already comprises fixed charges I cannot reduce through increased conservation?

As as society, we have three shared objectives in the setting of utility rate schedules: 1) to be equitable; 2) to encourage conservation and rooftop solar; and 3) to cover the cost, plus a reasonable profit, of generating and distributing reliable electric power to consumers. The fairest way to do this would be to eliminate base metering fees entirely and make to everyone’s bill directly proportional to net usage, weighted by time of day to facilitate peak shaving. Anyone reducing peak hour consumption by X percent would be assured of at least that percentage savings on his/her bill.


John A. Eldon, D.Env.



Another Trojan Horse in our midst

The well-known Santa Monica-based columnist, Tom Elias, has now alerted us all to a scheme, soon to be promoted by “our” big three California utilities, and the “yes men” of the California Public Utilities Commission.  The present system is working just fine, thank you.   Why can’t they just leave it alone?

The Scheme: Two tier rates, instead of Four tier rates for each power meter.  Tom Elias says, (and I believe him) that this will force small users into underwriting more of the costs of the big power users.

I have always scrimped on power use, having been told by my parents as a youngster, that apparently “(I) love the Power Company”, whenever a light was left on in my unoccupied room. As an aging adult, I recently purchased a limited-size solar power system for a second home in an arid region of So-Cal. The system was not intended to cover all the power consumption (as many do), but “to shave off” enough power, to keep the power bills in a lower tier of the utility power cost structure.

If one purchases a PV system to cover all of a home’s power demand, it ends up taking much longer to realize the savings (payoff) — if it ever does) — because the average power cost of all the tiers, is much lower than the cost of power (KWH) at the highest tier rates.

Example:  A $30,000 system is being paid back with power savings at 15 cents per kilowatt hour — versus a smaller $7,000 system, being paid off with power savings at the top tier of 30 cents per kilowatt hour. Obviously the smaller system will be paid off sooner by the PV power savings.  The logic of the smaller system is that the PV system will shave off the high cost power and the customer can utilize the utility grid power purchased at the lower tier rates.

Mr. Elias has his own examples of why eliminating the four tier system in favor of a two tier system and then migrating to “time-of-day” metering, will hurt small and poorer consumers.   I see our CPUC as promoting another Trojan Horse with this scheme, all for the benefit of big power users and the Big Three California power companies.

G. Lance Johannsen,