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Solar San Antonio wants CPS Energy to drop grid fees

Solar group calls on public to challenge CPS Energy

Solar San Antonio is calling on the public to challenge CPS Energy after the utility presented its plan to start phasing in a grid fee to new solar customers.

The utility will present its plan to City Council on Wednesday.

Lanny Sinkin, executive director of Solar San Antonio, said he believes the extra cost may discourage any future solar power usage in the Alamo City.

"For people to reduce their consumption, they could put in a new air conditioner, they could put in a new refrigerator. There's no difference in that reduction in consumption than when you put in solar. Only solar is being hit with this fee," Sinkin said.

Lisa Lewis, CPS Energy's vice president of communications, said the fees are necessary to help pay for the wear and tear on the electrical grid.

"For sending an inspector out to look at the system, to install a meter, to ensure that it's connected properly to our grid that all takes time and effort on someone's part," said Lewis.

The proposed grid fee is a one-time $250 inspection fee and a monthly $2.50 per 5-kilowatt charge.

Lewis said it's a small price to pay for the poles and wires everyone uses.

"San Antonio has more solar online than any place in the U.S. besides five other cities, and we're rapidly rising to the top, so no, we have no concerns that this will discourage solar (usage)," said Lewis.

But Solar San Antonio representatives feel that over time, those fees will add up.

"That sounds like a small fee, but when you take it per kilowatt per month and add that up and multiply that by the number of months, and multiply that by 25 years, you're talking about a substantial amount of money," said Sinkin.

The CPS Energy Presentation will take place during City Council B Session on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Public comment will also take place Wednesday at 6 p.m.  If you're interested in speaking, you must register on the city's website.

Both events will be held at the Municipal Plaza Building at 180 Military Plaza in San Antonio.