U.S. utilities step up attempts to increase fixed charges, minimum bills

If at first you don’t succeed, wait for the next rate case. This seems to be the strategy of many U.S. utilities, which despite trying to find many novel ways to gain more revenue from customers who adopt solar under net metering policies, remain largely focused on one tried and true method: asking for higher fixed charges and minimum bills.

Throughout the first three quarters of 2017 the pace of developments on such rate change proposals have increased, with North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) finding 44 actions taken involving proposed increases of residential fixed charges or minimum bills by at least 10% in 26 states plus Washington D.C. in the third quarter alone.