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Are You Aware of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative Rate Changes?

Back in December 2020, the Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) proposed and voted unanimously on a slate of regressive policies. One of these regressive policies is a 20-25% rate increase for the PEC members who decided to use solar energy to power up their homes. Given the increased popularity of solar energy, the PEC is worried about losing revenue. These policies unfairly target homeowners with solar power systems. The final voting is scheduled Jul 16, 2021. If the vote is approved, the rate increase will be effective on January 1, 2022. 

 

This action gravely affects existing solar power users, and it prevents possible future customers from using solar energy to power their homes. Here at LunaSolar, we firmly oppose these actions. Various studies have proven that customer-sited solar energy brings savings to both the homeowner and utility companies, just like PEC. If this follows through, it is most likely that other utility companies would also try to propose these types of regressive policies. This would send the message to homeowners that going solar is not worth it, which is completely false considering the various financial and environmental benefits that solar power provides.

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You Can Change the Course of Things!

We greatly encourage PEC members with concerns regarding the proposed rate increment to make their voices heard by contacting the Boards of Directors individually:

 

 

We also encourage you to phone PEC at (888) 554-4732. Signing up for the July 12th “Distributed Generation Rates Member Virtual Forum” would also support the cause.

Wondering How Does This Affect You?

Whether you’re an established PEC member or you’re just recently considering choosing to offset your power consumption with solar energy, the increased rates will apply to you. On top of that, the new rate structure suggested by PEC highly discourages homeowners from making the transition to solar by enacting an upfront payment of $650 when applying to install a solar system. And if that was not enough, members would still be forced to pay $250 to PEC for its consideration.  

 

PEC members with solar systems would be forced onto a more complex time-of-use rate structure to make things even more difficult for the consumer. This means that PEC will charge different rates at different hours of the day. If that’s not confusing enough, PEC members would be subject to two demand charges. One’s based upon peak usage each month, and the other’s based upon ERCOTs Four Coincident Peak periods.

What Can We Do About It?

PEC is a member-owned cooperative. This means that they should give the same treatment to its residential members, rather than just high-cost burdens on a particular subset of members. In addition, PEC is the largest electric cooperative in the U.S, with well over 345,000 active customers. They have a unique duty to their 5,000 solar customers and the larger community they serve to encourage the usage and normalization of solar energy rather than applying draconian measures to their solar-powered members. It is proven that using solar energy greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which is one of the main contributing factors to climate change. This possible decision to suppress the growth of solar is just another example of putting profit before the interests of the people. Besides the obvious benefits to the environment, solar power saves money for utility companies and homeowners by generating low-cost electricity during peak consumption periods and empowering businesses and homeowners to become more sustainable and self-reliant. 

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