Mountain Musings




Well, they’ve gone and done it again. “Who?” you ask. I’ll tell you who right now, Edison, no not Thomas Alva Edison, though he was their ringleader way back when. It’s Southern California Edison Company. “And just what did they do now?” you ask. They’ve gone and destroyed the incentive to go solar, and I’m angry as hell.


“Electricity sparks inside of me and I’m free. It’s a bit like being angry, it’s a bit like being scared, confused and all mixed up and angry as hell. It’s like when you’ve been crying and you’re empty and you’re full, I don’t know what it is, it’s hard to tell.” (“Electricity” – Elton John – 2005)


In case you were celebrating 4-20 day on April 20, you may have missed last month’s Earth Day celebration, which reminded me of what a noble concept going solar is as far as reducing carbon emissions in order to save our planet from the ravages of the ongoing climate change scourge.


OK, so here’s what SCE is doing to their current solar customers: They’ve moved them into their new billing system, a so-called time-of-use (TOU) plan crediting existing solar customers for the energy they are creating at their very lowest rate, as though you were putting energy into the grid at 3 a.m., instead of the actual hours that your solar panels are producing energy when they charge their customers their TOU rates that are far higher.


Under their old billing plan, if you generated more power than you used over a year, you would not pay SCE anything other than their various fees, which amounted to about $20 a month and a customer’s break-even point would range between five and eight years.


Now, however, in a nutshell, a solar customer has to create more far more energy than they consume in order to just break even. By the way, the average break-even point for many solar customers is eight years, but could be as long as 20 years, if you don’t have state or federal incentives or low electricity prices.


Why would someone choose to invest upwards of $35,000 for a solar array when SCE has changed the rules in the middle of the game, so to speak? A person in their 60s or older would be foolish to do so, when they may not live long enough to reap the benefits. I am, and I certainly wouldn’t.


Fewer solar panels on roofs contributes to more global warming, more CO2, melting icecaps and more extreme weather.


Thanks a lot, SCE, for nothing. By the way, when are you going to stop cutting down all the trees and put your dang powerlines underground?


“I can’t really explain it, I haven’t got the words, it’s a feeling I can’t control… and suddenly I’m flying, flying like a bird, like electricity. Electricity sparks inside of me and I’m free.”


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott