Groups Vow to Continue Fight After Governor Brown Signs AB 327, Which Introduces Major Changes to Energy Conservation, Rooftop Solar, and Energy Bills Across CA
Activism Community Groups Across California Secured Major Changes to the Original & Very Problematic Bill Debate Now Moves to the California Public Utilities Commission
SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law AB 327, a bill that had been pushed forward by the utility lobby and authored by Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno). In response to weeks of protests and voiced opposition by supporters of clean energy that included Presente.org the bill was amended. The final version added important provisions that ensure rooftop solar will continue to play a prominent role in California's economy and energy mix. The victory in changing the original and very problematic bill is important for Californians, but the fight for solar must continue in the Public Utilities Commission.
AB 327 included a provision to add fixed charges of up to $10 a month, or $120 annually, to bills of customers of Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Pacific Gas & Electric territories. Customers will not be able to offset the fixed charge on their bills by conserving energy or using rooftop solar. The new charges could potentially hit low income families and businesses that have invested in rooftop solar and energy efficiency improvements the hardest – as the new charges will dilute their energy savings.
In response, Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org issued the following statement:
"When the process first began behind closed doors, the big utility lobby thought that it could get away with trying to influence California's elected representatives in Sacramento without consequences. The amendments that improved the bill would not have happened without thousands of our members and concerned Californians that became enraged at the big utilities' attack on rooftop solar and energy conservation.
The debate now shifts to the Public Utilities Commission where implementation of key portions of the bill, including the fees will be decided on. It will be important that the public does not lose sight of the big utility lobby's true motivations. These charges have always been more about putting billions of dollars into the pockets of the big utility companies rather than anything else. The new charges stand to affect low income communities who are already struggling to pay their bills and those that are already doing their part to conserve energy. California's solar jobs, energy savings, and the state's entire clean energy economy are all at stake."