The debate rages on: Why minorities may oppose net metering
By: SGN Staff
Quick Take: Kristal Lauren High co-founded Politic365, a multi-media publication focused public policy from a multicultural point of view. Before that, she worked with the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. She recently blogged some of the reasons many people see net metering as a regressive system that benefits the wealthy at the expense of those not so well-off. - By Jesse Berst
Net metering gives customers credit for excess energy they generate (via rooftop solar, for example). The concept has spread across most of the country. The programs differ by state, but most give customers credit at the retail rate. Customers typically pay only for the net energy used (after subtracting the power they generated on their own). They receive the payment regardless of when the power was generated and regardless of costs incurred by the utility to ensure power is available to that customer at any time.
The tension between the few beneficiaries and the majority who do not generate their own power is growing. One homes energy savings becomes another home's burden. The system caters to wealthier customers who can afford rooftop solar. Minorities are more likely to live in apartments or to have poor credit scores.
"Thus, many view this as a regressive system that helps the wealthier get wealthier at the expense, literally, of those not so well-off, including both residential and business customers," she writes.
Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.
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