Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Support the Texas Solar Energy Society Comments for Power to Choose Website

We are encouraging Texans to support the Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) filed comments for suggested enhancements to the Power to Choose website.  This can be accomplished using the "contact us" section of the Power to Choose website and will only take a few minutes.  This blog posting provides information about (1) the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) Project, (2) the comments filed by TXSES, and (3) a way for citizens to show support for the filed comments.

1. Texas Public Utility Commission Project # 43787
Project Number 43787 has been recently established to allow interested persons an opportunity to submit comments and suggestions for the Power to Choose website (www.powertochoose.org). Comments will be accepted through February 13, 2015.  To review the project documents and comments filed to date, click this link Project 43787. For those living closer to Austin, there will be a public forum on Dec 19, 2014.  See Notice of Public Forum for details.

2. The Texas Solar Energy Society Filed Comments
Plano Solar Advocates has a working group that is exploring the net metering challenges in our deregulated electricity market. For details and background, see Net Metering Working Group Status.

TXSES has filed comments that Plano Solar Advocates believe are positive step forward.  The three basic recommendations for website improvements in ascending order of complexity are:

A. Provide a search/filter alongside the other existing search/filters so that distributed renewable generation excess buyback type rate plans can be found and easily compared to other rate plans.  This should be a very simple addition as the existing Energy Facts Label content required for every plan as defined by §25.475 - Information Disclosures to Residential and Small Commercial Customers – already includes the question “Does REP purchase excess distributed renewable generation?”.

B. As an additional enhancement to aid the comparison of excess distributed renewable generation buyback plans, it is suggested that the displayed content be enhanced to include at what rate the excess generation is purchased.  Some example responses could be:
  • “at same rate as the customer’s retail rate”,
  • a specific rate, .e.g.  “X cents/kWh, or
  • some other rate with supporting information.
C. Technology is now available to allow Texas electricity consumers the option to locally generate some or most of their electricity with rooftop solar PV. It is recommended that the PUC add an additional feature set to the “Power to Choose” website tool that will help consumers learn about local distributed renewable electricity produced by solar PV systems and help them find reputable solar installation companies in their respective zip codes – just as they help them find Retail Electric Providers!  Now that would be the “REAL” Power to Choose!

3. Show Support by Twitter or using the Power to Choose "Contact Us" form
While the process to file comments to a Texas PUC project can seem somewhat burdensome. If you have a twitter account, we recommend that you reply to this @PUCTX tweet with this message:

Alternatively, Plano Solar Advocates is suggesting the use of the "contact us" section of the Power to Choose website using these steps:

A. Navigate to the Power to Choose website at www.powertochoose.org, look to the bottom of the page and select the "contact us" item.

B. complete the form as follows:
  • Reason for Contact - select "Information"
  • Email Address - provide your email address
  • Subject - enter "Project 43787"
  • Message - suggested content - "I agree and support the filed comments by the Texas Solar Energy Society for this project. I am submitting this message of support for an existing filed comment electronically to save all of us time, money, and paper."
  • Complete the CAPTCHA and then submit.
The more people that provide input in support of these updates, the better the chances to improve this website tool.  According to ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas) data, there are over 4,600 PV installations in the deregulated market in Texas as as of Sept 2014.  Let's see if we can get at least 4,600 inputs in support of these website improvements.

Thanks and Shine On!
Plano Solar Advocate (LH)

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