Is electricity something I can do without? Can I choose where to buy it? What does “good” electricity look like? Maybe it is cheaper or more reliable. Maybe it creates local jobs, reduces reliance on outsiders, or preserves the environment. These questions rarely come to mind because we have always lived under the rule of a power monopoly. You need it. They have it. Pay up.
But this year the tables are turning. Solar is now cheap. A typical panel costs $200 and will collect over $600 in electricity in Idaho during it’s lifetime. Idaho Power is worried that people might want a choice so they are trying to kill net metering. They would single you out for installing solar on your home or office. And make you pay.
In fact, they want their customers to pay so much, that even if someone gave you a solar power system for free, it could be cheaper not to switch it on. They claim the power you generate is worth less than the power you use. In truth, solar is worth more because it comes on strong just when your air conditioner needs it. They want to introduce substantial new fees in lieu of equitable rate charges. Clearly, flat fees are unfair and provide no incentive to conserve or generate power. Will this stop with just net metering customers or will they eventually decide everyone needs to pay more?