Earlier this month, PNM, New Mexico’s largest electricity provider, proposed a distributed solar generation fee that could cost new solar installers $30 a month to connect to the grid. PNM considers the fee to be part of a greater “fairness issue” in which customers with rooftop solar systems aren’t paying their share of the fixed costs needed to maintain power lines and other elements of the grid.
“With solar customers who don’t use a lot of energy, other customers are actually picking up a greater piece of the cost,” Susan Snyder Sponar, senior communications representative at PNM, told ThinkProgress. Sponar said that most of the costs for maintaining their grid are not in fixed customer charges, but in energy charges. Since solar customers are generating a lot of their own energy, they aren’t paying the full cost of keeping the grid at the ready.