- Written by Denny Schneider
25 Oct 2011
FIRST PERSON - Help save the environment! Go solar! Save on the cost of electricity is the sales pitch. They tell you that going solar is a WIN-WIN for residents and LADWP.
The proposition is that you save money by generating your own electricity and then pump excess onto the LADWP grid for others to use. LADWP tells you that they will underwrite part of your system cost so that they can avoid the much higher costs of buying additional power from outside sources to meet peak capacity needs during the hottest summer months.
Solar generated electricity, however, CAN COST YOU MORE, not less, if LADWP is involved in calculating your bill. Beware! They got us, and it can happen to you.
Plan on spending much time and effort to understand how LADWP calculates your bill. Not only are we not compensated for solar production, but LADWP added a NEW CHARGE. They added a $10 per month fee FOR NOT USING THEIR POWER which is then subjected to a “10% City utility tax” on top of that. GO FIGURE ... Or don't, if you want to keep a good attitude.
Mid-June was the first month LADWP authorized connection of our solar system to the grid. We generated substantially more power than we used. Our first bill arrived in August. It was EVEN HIGHER THAN NORMAL, not less or zero as expected.
The LADWP explanation was that the first bill ignored our solar generation entirely and, because they had replaced our meter three times during the solar installation process, they “estimated” our usage. We were told to pay now and “you will get a ‘corrected bill’ in about a month” from the solar group.
Another bill arrived early this month, two months after paying the higher bill. Without detailed explanation it included a credit. This second bill, since going solar, still demanded an ADDITIONAL AMOUNT DUE despite our excess solar power production and our previous "voluntary" overpayment in August! It wasn’t huge so we paid it, too, just to avoid wasting more time and effort.
Now, last week, another bill arrived in the mail … now four months after starting our use of solar power. It included a two page list of calculations that attempted to “explain” how the power use charge was generated. It was full of acronyms which were never defined and we are still being overcharged.
My advice is: move to another city outside of LADWP service if you want to use solar. The time and money you save will be your own.
(Denny Schneider is President of ARSAC - Alliance for a Regional Solution For Airport Congestion and a board member of Neighborhood Council Westchester Playa.) –cw
Tags: DWP, solar, solar program, DWP bill, power, electricity, grid
Vol 9 Issue 85
Pub: Oct 25, 2011