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Fundamental Utility Business Model Must Change

Great article in Forbes about net metering. I’ve come to the realization that the fundamental utility business model must change — because DG technology change is inexorable. Solar will keep getting cheaper, utility electricity will keep getting more expensive, and homeowners will increasingly shift to a model where they generate their own electricity.

Just as Ma Bell resisted deregulation, utilities will continue to aggressively resist these changes. The point about utilities restricting data about solar is spot-on; utilities know exactly where DG solar is, how much it produces and the costs/savings. But they generally do not share that information because such sharing benefits DG solar.

It will be a decade-long struggle, with concentrations of DG political power growing where solar is widespread. Just imagine the outcry in California and Hawaii if customers who bought PV systems were told that they could no longer net meter. As solar penetration increase, this political power will develop to the point at which utilities will be forced to change the cost for service model.

In the mean time, the solar industry is continuing to fight for net metering in every significant jurisdiction – against increasingly organized utility misinformation and lobbying.


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