Renewable energy is causing net metering controversy

As solar power becomes increasingly popular across the United States, the battle over net metering is gaining traction. When excess electrical power is generated by homes with renewable energy, the power is transferred back to the main power grid the home is on and is then used to create electricity for other surrounding homes. While this happens, the power meter will spin backward instead of forward, giving a homeowner credit to pay off future energy use. But now utility companies are saying this process is unfair to those who do not have solar powered homes.

Because the United States government is trying to increase its emphasis on renewable energy by offering incentives to individuals who want to make their homes more energy efficient, some are beginning to pay less in utility bills each month. Big companies are now starting to argue that the process of net metering is unfair because it favors some people while others are left to bear the financial burden of electrical costs. They are also saying that their profits are being directly harmed and want to either scale back net metering or change what solar households can be charged.

Utility companies are beginning to see a response. In California – which is the largest solar powered state – lawmakers reached a compromise with utility companies that preserved net metering for the immediate future, but also directs the state's Public Utility Commission to create a new program by 2017 that will ensure customers without solar energy will not pay an unfair amount for the grid.

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