L.A. 5% Electric Rate Increase to Pay for Uneconomical Solar Subsidies

(p. A17) . . . , the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the United States, is poised to pass a roughly 5 percent rate increase on electricity use. The proceeds would be earmarked for renewable energy purchases and programs, including one that would repay people or businesses that use solar panels to contribute to the power grid.

. . .
The money would also be used to help pay for what is known as a feed-in tariff, under which the utility will pay a set rate for electricity from customers who install solar panels.
. . .
But “feed-in tariffs for solar power is not good use of money,” Professor Borenstein said. “Solar power at the residential level is not close to economical. There are many things you should do before you subsidize it.”
Californians have been squeezed by high unemployment and fee increases, and Los Angelenos may not cotton easily to a rate increase.
“Californians are environmentally conscious,” said Dan Schnur, the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “But much less so if it causes them economic difficulty.”

For the full story, see:
JENNIFER STEINHAUER. “Los Angeles Electric Rate Linked to Solar Power.” The New York Times (Thurs., March 11, 2010): A17.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article is dated March 10, 2010.)

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