News

Utilities and Regulators: Alternative Energy not the Complete Solution

Utilities and Regulators: Alternative Energy not the Complete Solution

Photo: clipart.com

Utility companies and utility regulators see a problem coming, and there’s no easy answer.

The problem is utility companies that are required by law to serve every home and business. Presumably every one of those places has an account and pays for the gas or electricity, as well as the existence of the network. But what if big customers start using solar or wind for electricity? They’ll no longer be billed, but the company is still going to have to provide a service line to their address.

“There are people that are going to be left at the end of that line who can’t put the solar panel on their house, they can’t afford to put the wind turbine up, they can’t do the geothermal, and so are you going to leave them with all of the bills for all of those lines that are out there if customers leave the grid? It’s a huge issue,” says Doug Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission.”

It’s not fair to charge people or businesses for an electrical or natural gas system that they’re not using, but it’s not fair to charge other customers for keeping the network in place for service to those addresses, should it ever be needed.

Scott says the use of solar power to generate electricity has gone up 4,000 percent over the last seven years.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Snuff the Butt at UI Tailgate Parties

cigarette butt

Enforcement still up in the air

in Local

Decatur Asian Carp Screen Back in Place

Lake Decatur

Bad winter weather damaged screen

in Local

Medical Marijuana Applications Posted for Business

marijuana

Applications for medical marijuana begins September 2 for patients, September 8 for dispensaries.

in Local

Illinois Museum to Display 1916 Military Equipment

ihpa logo

Military equipment from 1916 to be on display starting September 6.

in Local

Reaction to IDNR’s Long-Awaited Fracking Rules Proposal

frack

One expert laments the length of time it took DNR to write the rules, which he says are too restrictive. Meanwhile, another expert says she'll have to see what the rules are before she calls them restrictive.