By Ann G. Daniels
Deadline: ASAP, this may come up for a vote in the Assembly as soon as late May –
Who’s against increasing residential solar energy in California? Amazingly, AB 1139, which is making its way through the state legislature right now, would effectively kill the incentives for people to add new rooftop solar to their homes, and would heavily penalize people who already have installed solar on their homes. Indivisible East Bay has signed on to a letter opposing this bill, citing the importance of investment in clean, local energy to save infrastructure expense and carbon. Please call your Assemblymember and State Senator NOW and tell them to oppose AB 1139 and to fight to protect residential rooftop solar.
What you can do:
Contact your state legislators, and then spread the word!
What to say:
My name is _______, my address is ________ and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I am [CALLING/WRITING] to oppose AB 1139. This bill is full of terrible ideas, like slashing the credit solar users get for surplus energy that goes back to the grid, and charging people who have solar an average of $70 a month just to use the grid. California should be a leader in rooftop solar energy. We should keep encouraging solar and making it affordable, not kill it. AB 1139 is a step in the wrong direction.
How to contact your state representatives:
- Buffy Wicks: email; District: 510-286-1400; Capitol: 916-319-2015
- Rob Bonta: email; District: 510-286-1670; Capitol: 916-319-2018
- Rebecca Bauer-Kahan: email; Capitol (handles legislative calls): 916-319-2016; District: 925-328-1515
- Bill Quirk: email; Capitol: 916-319-2020; District 510-583-8818
- Timothy Grayson: email; Capitol: 916-319-2014; District: 925-521-1511
- Steve Glazer, District 7 (Contra Costa): email; (916) 651-4007; Orinda (925) 258-1176; Antioch (925) 754-1461
- Nancy Skinner, District 9 (Alameda & Contra Costa): email; (916) 651-4009, Oakland (510) 286-1333
- Bob Wieckowski, District 10 (Alameda & Santa Clara): email; (916) 651-4010, Fremont (510) 794-3900
Don’t know who your state representatives are, or have friends outside the East Bay? Find legislators and contact info here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Californians have invested in rooftop solar to combat climate change, lower energy bills, and invest in local communities. Distributed power generation also helps decrease our reliance on long-distance power transmission lines, which are extremely costly to build and maintain, and are often implicated in wildfires and blackouts. The state encouraged these investments via policies like net metering, which lets solar users share their extra energy with their neighbors for a bill credit.
Today, utilities are threatened by this people-centered movement because it cuts at their profits. Rooftop solar is no longer niche but an increasingly affordable investment embraced by working- and middle-class communities as a no-brainer solution to wildfires, blackouts, and rate increases. Utilities want to end this trend by attacking net metering, the most powerful policy driving rooftop solar today.
AB 1139 will end the state’s current policy of ensuring the sustainable growth of rooftop solar. Under AB 1139, solar users will see:
- A monthly fee estimated at $70/month for an average home solar system
- A 65%- 80% reduction in the credit given to solar users for surplus energy sent back to the grid
These policies would immediately apply to any users who install solar after 12/31/2023. Solar owners who installed after 2016-2017 would be pushed onto the new fees & reduced credit rate 10 years after their installation date. Customers who installed solar prior to 2016/2017 would be moved to the new monthly fees and lower credit rates 20 years after their installation date, which was the earlier policy for all solar installers – note that the new policy only gives people who installed solar after 2016-2017 ten years instead of 20. Adding fees, reducing the solar credit, and pushing solar customers onto the new rates sooner, would harm existing consumers, including schools, low-income affordable housing, and farms. It would also erode consumer confidence in government-backed programs on clean energy.
For more information, please see the “AB 1139 Utility Profit Grab” fact sheet.
Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.