UPDATE: We understand that the focus of the fight for a Strong Net Energy Metering (NEM) program has shifted. Following the defeat of AB 1139, advocates and supporters of clean local energy shifted gears. In November, we await a Proposed Decision (PD) from the CPUC on the changes they want to make to NEM. We are not optimistic.
The Alliance will update the information below when the PD has been released. Please visit here again soon.
Community Choice energy agencies and their customers have a critical stake in the defeat of AB 1139. However, these agencies, created to speed the transition to a cleaner, safer, more resilient and more socially just future, are acting like this bill to kill local solar doesn’t matter.
Such indifference carries water for the investor-owned utilities (IOUs). It fails to prioritize the development of decentralized energy options –distributed energy resources– and therefore ignores the vital interests of our communities. By upending the economics of rooftop solar, as AB 1139 would do, all customers will be the losers:
Check out our Position Paper on AB 1139 for the full story.
In short, AB 1139 will set new standards for solar in California:
- Current solar customers lose the net energy metering credits upon which their purchase or lease depends.
- The 150,000 low- and middle-income customers with rooftop solar will see their systems’ savings converted into monthly charges.
- Prospective solar customers will find it uneconomical: solar’s projected payback period will jump from 4-5 years to 40-50+ years (see “Utility Profit Grab Fact Sheet”).
- We all lose most of the existing jobs for local solar, storage, microgrids and other decentralized clean energy resources, and all the new jobs that expansion of these options would otherwise create.
- We all lose out on the energy resiliency that solar+storage can offer, as these systems will no longer pencil out.
- We all lose a more equitable distribution of clean electricity, as low- and middle-income households are closed out of solar benefits.
But while we all lose, the IOUs will get a big profit boost. AB 1139 represents a shift in wealth from ratepayers to IOU shareholders. By killing community-based local solar, the IOUs leave us hostage to rising utility bills to pay for the IOUs’ ‘self-approved’ transmission upgrades, wildfire mitigation costs, wildfire damage payouts, and other utility bailouts.
What You Can Do
All who care about the future of our communities and the role of Community Choice in building that future, here’s what you can do:
- Tell your Community Choice agency what’s at stake! Urge a vote on the Oppose AB 1139 Resolution and mobilize your community to lobby Community Choice board members and Community Advisory Committees.
- Communicate your Community Choice agency’s opposition to AB 1139 widely, ensuring that legislative representatives understand what is at risk in AB 1139 for our communities.
- Action Timetable:
- Target Assemblymembers prior to the Floor vote anticipated between May 25 and June 4.
- Target Senators prior to their actions in Committees, both the Senate Utilities and Energy Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Prioritize outreach to all Senators as floor debate approaches prior to August 16.
- If all else fails, we stop this bill at the Governor’s desk in September.
Resources and Materials
Alliance materials are linked here. Please visit often as new resources will be added here:
- Position Paper: Oppose AB 1139, the Utility Profit Grab
- Draft Resolution: Community Choice in Opposition to AB 1139 (this is provided in Word so it can be tailored to any Community Choice program)
The materials below are provided by the “Save California Solar” campaign and their supporters:
- Save California Solar AB 1139 “Utility Profit Grab” Fact Sheet
- California Solar+Storage Association “A Rebuttal to California’s Investor-Owned Utilities Cost Shift Numbers and Equity Claims”
- Save California Solar webpage – “Building Blocks to Equitable Rooftop Solar and Storage Growth”
- Write to your legislators and copy Governor Newsom – via Save California Solar’s “Letter to your legislator” action page.
Who Else is Against This Bill?
- Lots and Lots of Organizations! “Save California Solar” campaign page with list of Endorsing Organizations
- “PG&E’s Profit Grab: At War Against the People”, People Power Solar Cooperative on the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
- VoteSolar “California’s Utilities are trying to Kill Rooftop Solar with AB 1139”
- California Solar and Storage Association Bill Action Updates here.