Utilities in at least two dozen states are scrambling to raise monthly fees to cover fixed costs as power sales decline, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Now, many utility companies are seeking to increase their monthly fees by double-digit percentages, raising them to $25 or more a month regardless of the amount of power consumers use,” the newspaper reported. “The utilities argue that the fees should cover a bigger proportion of the fixed costs of the electric grid, including maintenance and repairs.”
Utilities are embracing new business models as their customers embrace energy efficiency and use less power. Increasingly, customers are embracing solar power and other forms of distributed generation also cutting into utility revenues.
Consumer and environmental groups have voiced concern about the rising utility fees.
“Fixed fees are unpopular because they disempower the customer and discourage investments in rooftop solar and energy efficiency,” said William Dornbos, Connecticut director for the Maine-based Acadia Center, a public interest group that promotes clean energy, in the Journal article.