NC Sustainable Energy Association

NCSEA News

Free Enterprise under Attack in North Carolina

February 12, 2014 5:07 PM | Posted By: Lowell Sachs, Director of Communications

Solar Energy Action Center

Free Enterprise under Attack in North Carolina

Duke Energy and other Utility Monopolies are trying to Stop Solar Energy
in North Carolina

Utilities like Duke Energy run advertisements celebrating solar energy, but are smearing rooftop solar to convince the public, elected officials and the North Carolina Utilities Commission to undermine net metering rules.  Net metering is a policy in 43 states that gives property owners fair credit for the solar energy they self-generate and deliver to the grid.   The more people that choose to use self-generated rooftop solar, the less power they must buy from the utilities and the fewer new costly power plants are needed.  Energy independence and customer choice for North Carolinians eats into the profits for the utilities.  Utilities are attacking net metering and rooftop solar to protect their bottom line and monopoly control, plain and simple.

“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Lowell Sachs, spokesman for the NC Sustainable Energy Association.  “Duke Energy has over 3 million customers, but there are only a relative handful of customers in North Carolina today who have adopted rooftop solar and currently net-meter with their utility. When you look at the numbers, Duke’s decision to target net metering just rings hollow.”  

There are 1,300 customers in North Carolina today who net-meter, but as rooftop solar gains in popularity that number will rise. Duke Energy is looking to undermine its deployment while the number of adopters is relatively low.

Similar efforts by large utilities in other states have failed, most notably in Arizona and Colorado where net-metering customers number in the tens of thousands.  Those customers fought back against their utility and won – something Duke Energy does not want to see in North Carolina.

In response to Duke Energy and other utilities’ efforts to undermine the success of solar energy in North Carolina, the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association is asking that you contact Governor McCrory and your legislator to ask them to protect customer choice and free enterprise by not allowing Duke Energy’s monopoly to destroy an industry that is thriving in North Carolina.

Find your legislator here.

Call or Tweet Governor McCrory: 919-814-2000 or @PatMcCroryNC

Please include these facts about solar energy when contacting elected leaders:

  • Strengthens Utility Grid: The benefits of rooftop solar outweigh costs by 30% due to increased efficiency, avoided utility investments, and availability at peak times.  Source: 2013 Crossborder Study
     
  • Drives Economic Growth: In 2013, there were over 2,400 solar jobs that contributed over $1 billion to North Carolina’s economy.  NC leaders should applaud solar success.
     
  • Gives Consumers Choice: The utilities say they support solar, but only if all competition is eliminated and they are the only provider.
     
  • Encourages Healthy Competition: Rooftop solar is similar to a charter school – it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly.  Monopoly utilities are not known for reducing costs or driving business innovation, but the solar industry is!

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