I agree that the net-metering arrangement available to people who install photovoltaic systems needs to be reformed (”Column: Net metering needs to be reformed,” Oct. 2). It is an imperfect compromise and should be replaced with a rate structure specifically designed for people who have solar systems.

However, the columnist states that, “Under net metering the customer with rooftop solar is paid the full retail rate for all electricity generated and sent into the system.” This is simply incorrect. For the past three years the photovoltaic system my family installed has delivered more electricity to the system than we have used. We are not paid a penny for this power and the writer’s statement contradicts what I have told my own neighbors.

In addition, we pay a monthly service charge designed to cover the fixed costs of the utility system. In a perfect world, owners of solar systems would be paid for all electricity delivered to the system at a rate that reflects it’s value to the system and would pay for electricity they use at the same rate that everybody else pays.

The column presents the situation as if the owners of solar systems are getting rich by making everybody else pay for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Photovoltaic systems are expensive to install and the payback period is long. Most people who install them are motivated by the idea that they can contribute to reduce global warming one house at a time.

Steven Buchsbaum


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