Green Tech Media Discusses Proposed Changes to A-6 Tariff with Sage

Green Tech Media sat down with Sage's Tom Williard for Jeff St. John's excellent article, "PG&E’s New Tariff Could ‘Gut the PV Opportunity’ for the Commercial Sector," to discuss the impact that proposed changes to the A-6 tariff could have on commercial and small industrial solar in PG&E territory. From the article:

The controversy over Pacific Gas & Electric’s special tariff for mid-size businesses, school districts, and other commercial customers that want to go solar has been brewing for years now. But lately, it’s been kicked into high gear, driven by an unusually poorly worded proposed decision from the California Public Utilities Commission that could, if left unchanged, slash the economic returns of the majority of commercial PV projects in PG&E territory by about 30 percent.

That’s the calculation that Tom Williard at Sage Renewable Energy Consulting has been warning his solar customers about since June 23, when the proposed decision (PDF) from CPUC administrative law judge Douglas Long was published. This document was meant to resolve a years-long legal argument over what to do with PG&E’s Schedule A-6 tariff. But according to Williard, the solution it proposes is far worse than the problem it was trying to solve.

“It’s really happening, and it’s happening in a very abrupt way,” he explained. “The transition is really disorderly, which is one of the biggest problems.”

In fact, the way the proposed decision would alter rate structures and customer energy costs is so dramatic and uncertain that the CPUC decided this week to assign a new administrative law judge to the issue, and postpone a final decision on the matter until at least next month. That could give the agency time to fix what Williard described as the key flaws in the previous document, including a lack of clarity about what will happen to existing A-6 tariff customers, and what customers with solar projects in development should do to preserve their economic value.

“A regulatory environment with this much lack of transparency and inconsistency makes these kinds of projects virtually impossible,” he said. “You cannot plan in an environment like that.”

Considering a renewable energy project?
Don't go it alone. Contact Sage.