July 31, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Power companies threatened by solar energy
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Diane Cardwell’s article in The Times only tells a fraction of the story of electric utilities and solar customers, but it is a conversation starter. [“Solar customers costing us, utilities say,” Business, July 31.]
What is missing? Costs that utilities create that are borne by customers: climate change, heavy-metal pollution, water consumption, water pollution, ecosystem destruction, excessive rates, to name a few.
Also not mentioned is the fact that utilities invest in peaking power plants that are of less use when the percentage of customer generation increases. Electric utilities are stodgy by nature, so why is their whining so important?
The integration of solar has been in the works for 20 years; had utilities done some forward thinking, they would have worked out a way to use customer generation to their advantage.
Jeremy Smithson, Puget Sound Solar, Seattle
The power companies and their investment-bank owners should be able to see an obvious pathway to continued hegemony and profits, while cutting fossil-fuel use dramatically.
The solution? Charge all customers a flat fee for the grid use and lease people’s rooftops for company-owned solar-panel systems.
The power companies would continue to make billions (and pay millions in fines) and we could all have air conditioning and watch TV. Everyone’s a winner.
Robert Reed, Seattle
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