Newsom in Middle of an Intense Battle Over Solar Regulation

Gov. Gavin Newsom is the man in the middle of an intense battle over payments to rooftop solar panel owners for their excess power. In December, the California Public Utilities Commission released a 204-page proposal to reduce the payments to solar panel owners, largely embracing what the utilities and their unions had been seeking, but angering advocates of onsite customer solar generation.

Asked about the Net Energy Metering (NEM) issue at his budget news conference, Newsom replied: “That draft plan that was recently released, I just had a chance to review, and I’ll say this about the plan: We still have some work to do.” The PUC got the message and delayed a vote on whether to adopt the draft, moving everything behind closed doors. Newsom hasn’t specified the changes he seeks but presumably wants to make the NEM overhaul at least marginally acceptable to the solar faction without alienating the utilities or, more importantly, their influential unions.

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