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  • Billie Anderson

You Have Solar and Your Electric Bill Increased in 2024. Here's what happened and what you can do about it.


woman looking at computer upset about electric bill
Yikes! My Electric Bill!

Background

All Louisiana utilities had to offer “real” net metering for solar customers thru Dec.31, 2019, which meant that every kwh of excess solar production that was sent back to the utility company could later be pulled back and used by the customer at no extra charge.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission ended net metering at the behest of their main donors, which weirdly enough are the very same utility companies that they are supposed to be regulating.


Only in Louisiana is such a blatant conflict of interest…not a conflict of interest.

So starting Jan. 1, 2020, if you had solar installed you entered into a 2-tiered metering scheme called “avoided cost”, which means that when a kwh of excess production is sent back down the grid for the utility company to sell to whomever, the solar customer is credited with what “they” say would be the cost of producing that kwh.  So it’s their avoided cost.

When the solar customer goes to buy back that kwh to use, it’s at the full retail rate.


Here’s where the screwing gets going.

We’ll use CLECO for the example here, because overall, they’re pretty evil. (Truth be told most of the electric companies in Louisiana are also doing this so maybe you have to be a bloodsucker to run an electric company in Louisiana.  They sure seem to be specialist in squeezing every nickel out without putting anything back in, (fuel fees that never go down,  hurricane repair fees that never go away and infrastructure that never gets updated).  But I digress…


For residential service, depending on how much they’re gouging for fuel charge, the average CLECO customer is paying about .13 to .17/kwh, all inclusive.


Until Jan. 1st of this year, CLECO was paying an avoided cost rate of .06158/kwh, so in other words, a solar customer would have to over-produce 2 kwhs during the day to cancel out 1 kwh they had to buy from CLECO that night.

Bad enough, but it was what it was.


Now the screwing hits the turbos…

On Jan 1st, the new avoided cost rate dropped by (checks math) 223%, now sitting at .02759/kwh.  So now it takes an over-production of 4.35kwh to offset 1 kwh bought back from CLECO.


That’s not realistic, so unless you have an obnoxiously over-sized solar array, you’re going to be still paying a big-ish CLECO bill. And the larger you go, the more CLECO makes.  Not bad for a company that is installing solar fields for themselves.


Panasonic Home Battery System
Add Batteries to Your Solar System to Beat the Electric Companies

There is a solution to “avoiding” the avoided cost scam, and it’s a twofer.

With a battery system installed with solar, not only do you get power in an outage (for hours, days or years), but you get to store your own excess power production during the day and use it every night.  No more paying CLECO (or whoever you local criminal utility is).

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