Tag Archives: Lower Rates for Customers

30 Megawatt solar plant opens near Austin

While Georgia Power continues to block solar deployment in Georgia, Austin Energy forges ahead in Texas with a utility-scale solar plant.

Here’s their PR, Austin Energy Activates 30 MW Solar Farm,

AUSTIN, Texas , Jan. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Austin Energy along with Austin City Mayor Lee Leffingwell , and Village of Webberville Mayor Hector Gonzales today announced the activation of a 30 megawatt (MW) solar power plant located within the Village of Webberville, Texas . The activation of the power plant marks the first utility-scale solar deployment for Austin Energy and helps bring the utility one step closer to achieving a 35% renewable energy mix by 2020. It is the largest active solar project of any public power utility in the country, the largest active project in Texas and among the largest of all operating solar projects in America. The project was activated on December 20, 2011

The key was a PPA:

The utility-scale solar project was made possible through a 25-year solar power purchase agreement in which Austin Energy will purchase the energy at a fixed rate along with the renewable energy credits.
In Georgia, PPAs can be made with municipal governments, universities, companies, or even individuals, if SB 401 passes.

An opportunity for EMCs: Continue reading

Georgia Power peddling old disinformation about solar power

On the same day as SB 401 revived as SB 459 gets a hearing in a better committee, Georgia Power trots out the same old tired disinformation it’s been peddling for years. As if we didn’t already know that almost all solar installations in Georgia are installed by certified solar installers. Or that pretty much every inverter these days comes with built-in automatic cutoff if the grid goes down to which installers add air-gap cutoff knife switches plus breakers. And as if Georgia Power didn’t know it and EMCs could charge a percentage on electricity arbitraged across their networks, which gapower could use to finance any needed grid improvements, while retaining a hefty profit for doing not much of anything else. Meanwhile, those of us who chose to participate in solar electricity arbitrage would get lower rates for customers. We do know all that, but maybe your state senator doesn’t, so maybe you should call your senator today and tell them you want to be able to buy and sell solar power without having to get it from the utility monopoly.

Greg Roberts, Vice President of Pricing and Planning for Georgia Power in Atlanta, wrote for the Savannah Morning News today, The solar sleight of hand. I’ll only quote part of his concluding paragraph.

Georgia Power is involved in many efforts to expand the use solar energy
Usually dragged along behind reluctantly, Continue reading

SB 401 revived in SB 459: lets you generate and sell solar power

SB 401 got tabled in the Natural Resources Committee. 46 other states already let people generate solar power and sell it to a third party.
Yet in only four states — Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Kentucky Mdash; are third party power purchase agreements disallowed, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
But Georgia Power convinced that committee that it would raise rates for everybody else. Which is pretty rich coming from the same gapower that is already charging customers Construction Work in Progress for its nuke boondoggle. So SB 401 sponsor Sen. Buddy Carter found another way.

Mary Landers wrote for the Savannah Morning News Friday, Solar bill jolted back to life:

To revive his bill, Carter tacked it onto to one already sent to the Regulated Industries Committee — SB 459, which would allow consumers to opt-out of smart meters like the ones Georgia Power is currently installing in Savannah. The committee held a hearing on the bill Thursday, ultimately tabling it, and saying they wanted more information about how power purchase agreements work in other states.

Carter was elated.

“It’s out there now and people are aware of it,” he said. It’s getting media attention. I feel good about it.”

Help him feel even better about it. Contact the committee chair and tell him we want solar cogeneration:
Senator William Ligon
Oh, regarding the meter opt-out in the main body of the bill, why let gapower charge people for that? You can mention to Sen. Ligon that people should be able to opt out for free.


PS: Owed to Bob Ingram.

Georgia Power opposes SB 401 and Lower Rates for Customers

Is anyone surprised that Georgia Power has come out in opposition to Georgia SB 401, which will let you generate solar power and sell it to whomever you like? If you do want to do that, you can call your state senator today.

Errin Haines wrote for AP 18 Feb 2012, Georgia Power balks at Senate solar power proposal,

“The power company ought to be doing this, but they don’t want to buy it from anybody that produces it,” said state Sen. Buddy Carter, the bill’s main sponsor.

The state’s main electricity provider, Georgia Power, is opposing the legislation, pointing to the state’s Electric Service Act. Created nearly four decades ago, the law established assigned territories for the power company, along with 42 electric membership cooperatives and 52 cities with municipal systems, all competing for customers.

Spokeswoman Christy Ihrig said in a statement that the proposed bill would illegally infringe on the company’s territory and that the introduction of a new supplier could drive up rates for customers because utilities would be required to hike costs. She added the company is supportive of solar power and is working to provide solar as an option to customers.

Ah, the old territoriality law! “Competing” through assigned territories. Does that seem right to you?

You know, it’s not illegal if the legislature changes the law….

If you want lower rates for customers, call your state senator today. Around here, that would be Senator Tim Golden, tim.golden@senate.ga.gov

Capitol Office:
121-A State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-7580
Fax: (404) 463-4226
District Office:
110 Beacon Hill
Valdosta, GA 31602
Phone: (229) 293-0202 (O)
(229) 241-1284 (H)
(229) 241-7732 (F)


Help pass GA Senate Bill 401 to facilitate distributed power cogeneration

SB 401 intends to modernize Georgia law to make distributed power generation easier. You can help.

Drs Sidney Smith and Pat Godbey not only have started Tabby Power, which sells solar power directly to customers. They also have an outfit called Lower Rates for Customers, which is about generating solar power in one place and selling it in another. There are various legal impediments to doing that.

Charlie Harper wrote for the Courier-Herald and Peach Pundit 9 February 2012, A Little Sunshine On A Battle To Expand Renewable Energy,

Essentially, customers with solar panels meter not only power coming into their house from the existing grid, but also the amount of power returned to the grid. The generating company — Georgia Power in most of the state — is required to buy surplus power back based on their state granted regulated monopoly status. Currently, projects are limited in size to 10 Kw for residential customers and 100 Kw for business customers. SB 401 removes these caps.

More intricate details of the bill provide for private ownership of these systems, as opposed to current law which requires the owner of the property to also own the attached grids. This will allow for manufacturers of solar grids or interested third parties to enter into financing or lease agreements which pay for the systems long term out of cost savings for the customer. By allowing for these arrangements, many customers can access these systems with no money up front, as opposed to the high initial capital costs which would take years to recover.

Here are the details and text of SB 401. It has six cosponsors:
  1. Carter, Buddy 1st
  2. Chance, Ronnie 16th
  3. Carter, Jason 42nd
  4. Williams, Tommie 19th
  5. Rogers, Chip 21st
  6. Stoner, Doug 6th
We’ve seen Doug Stoner before, at last June’s Southern Solar Summit, talking about renewable energy. It looks like he and others are actually trying to do something about it.

You can help, by signing this petition.


Solar surging in Savannah

Near Savannah a couple of doctors are pioneering ways for everyone to profit from solar now. Yesterday, the Driftaway Cafe started serving up with solar.

WJCL and WTGS wrote yesterday, Solar Power Surges in Savannah

A ground breaking project is underway in the coastal empire that harnesses the power of the sun and hopes to pave the way for the future of clean energy. One main part of this project is for everyone to be able to supply their own power.

Clean, sustainable energy has been a hot topic for some time now, especially, energy that doesn’t send our money overseas.

“We need to develop every available source of American energy,” says President Obama.

The problem is that until now alternate sources have been out of reach or too expensive for most of us.

“It’s very important we learn how to harness our own power and how we structure that today is important for future generations,” says Dr. Sidney Smith, co-owner of Lower rates for Customers.

“Lower Rates for Customers” is hoping to do just that. The plan is to make solar power the way of the future and affordable for everyone. They have an all encompassing plan that can have anyone generating their own electricity within 45 days, even if you don’t have the land to put up solar panels.

“We provide you with the place, the hook up, the technology and Georgia power will send you a check to supplement your power bill,” says Dr. Pat Godbey, co-owner of Tabby Power.

Business like the Driftaway Cafe jumped on the chance to get involved.

“Their financial model for the future just struck a nerve with me and I wanted to be a part of it,” says Driftaway owner, Robyn Quattlebaum.

Cheaper, cleaner, and accessible: that’s good business sense!