A Texas-based utility trade group and a Washington, DC fossil fuel lobbyist have emerged as the instigators behind a questionable petition designed to discourage rooftop solar in Wisconsin.
In several U.S. states, including Wisconsin, utilities have been raising households’ fixed monthly energy charges, sometimes by 75 to 100%, arguing that all ratepayers should make up the revenue they lose when some households shift to solar.
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But “it’s hard not to see this as a cynical attempt to turn the public against policies like net metering that encourage people to install rooftop solar,” Mock writes: Coal provides 62% of Wisconsin’s net electricity generation, renewables less than 7%, and solar only a small percentage of that, so “it’s hard to imagine…that home solar is cutting that deeply into the utilities’ pockets.”
After the Texas-based Consumer Energy Alliance identified 2,500 Wisconsinites who ostensibly supported the rate hikes and submitted their names to the state Public Service Commission (PSC), a community newspaper in Madison found irregularities with the signatures and the PSC rejected the petition. Mock connects the dots to a lobby group that “represents the interests of mostly fossil fuel companies, so it is engaged in a nationwide campaign to slow the spread of home-produced renewable energy.”