Starting next year, New York State utility companies will be charging new solar customers a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge. This new charge is effectively a tax on solar installations in New York.
WHAT IS THE CBC CHARGE?
Starting January 1, 2022, utility companies, Central Hudson, Con Edison, NYSEG, Orange and Rockland,
Rochester Gas & Electric, and LIPA will be applying a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge to the electric bills of solar owners whose systems were interconnected on or after this date. We expect this “solar tax” to cost New York solar owners $7-$10 per month.
WHERE DID THIS SOLAR TAX COME FROM?
Last year, NY State utility companies announced it would be making changes to its current Net Metering program. Some states have begun to do the same in order to address cost shifting. Utility companies claim that they need to charge their non-solar customers more money in order to make up for the revenue they lose from the Net Metering of clean energy.
To address cost shifting at the state level, NYSERDA announced last July that Phase One Net Metering (theprogram as it is now) will only be available for projects interconnected before January 1, 2022.
Making the switch to clean, solar energy is a significant financial investment that benefits the entire grid. However, it will now result in an extra charge on your electric bill. This charge is effectively a tax on solar in New York.
IS THE CBC CHARGE FINAL?
This charge will unfairly target solar customers and therefore stunt the growth of solar in New York, which
undermines the city and state’s sustainability goals. For this reason, members of the solar industry are doing what they can to fight back. Brooklyn SolarWorks, NYSEIA, and a number of other solar companies and organizations in New York have filed comments with the state on the charge.
The current Net Metering program has been instrumental in the spread of solar throughout NYC; yet this new charge disincentivizes the investment in solar. When it comes to cost shifting, the truth is that solar owners account for only about 1% of total electric customers in the state. Thus, any cost shifting that occurs cannot be very significant. Further, making the switch to solar is an investment that has considerable economic and environmental benefits for both NY utility companies and the city as a whole. The CBC is just another barrier to residential solar in our city. We believe solar should be becoming more accessible to New Yorkers, not the other way around. Read more here.
*** What you can do: ***
- Email/fax Governor Hochul and Commissioner Christian of Department of Public Service (DPS). You have many options:
• Submit comment directly on Department of Public Service website
• Email Governor Hochul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Use Governor Hochul’s contact form found here.
• Send a fax to Governor Hochul at 518-474-1513
• Email Commissioner Christian at email@example.com
• Email Secretary to the Commissioner Hon. Michelle L. Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Send a fax to Secretary to the Commissioner Hon. Michelle L. Phillips at 518-474-9842.
• Send a fax to the NYS Dept of Public Service to file a complaint at 518-472-8502.
GOVERNOR HOCHUL SAMPLE EMAIL/FAX:
Dear Governor Hochul,
New York environmental groups across the state applaud your announcement on the first day of Climate Week of an expanded 10 gigawatts of distributed solar installed by 2030! This will bolster economic recovery with 6,000 new solar jobs beyond the 12,000 that now exist and help get us to our new climate laws. You committed the NYSERDA and the NYS Department of Public Service to develop a redistributed solar roadmap to be issued this fall to advance this goal, thank you!
However, Governor, there is a major hitch in your wise and timely plan: the solar tax (“Customer Benefit Charge”), which would menace the further adaptation of solar installation across the state starting Jan 1st.
This tax amounts to a $7-$10 a month increase in a homeowner’s overall electric bill which would significantly reduce one of solar’s most alluring benefits (besides saving the planet) which is that going solar saves you money!
Another reason why this tax should be delayed or halted is that the proposed tax was formulated BEFORE the CLCPA and that we will not be able to meet our mandated climate goals with a tax on new solar installation. Once utility companies bakes in a solar tax, it’s impossible to reverse it, because they will have changed their whole metering system. This could pave the way to ratcheting up the tax in the future.
That’s why we are calling upon you to use your power to halt or at least delay this counterproductive Solar Tax, so the State of New York can meet its climate laws in the CLCPA and continue to lead the nation in meeting our climate targets as set forth by the state and the president.
All the best,
YOUR NAME and zipcode
COMMISSIONER RORY CHRISTIAN SAMPLE EMAIL/FAX:
Dear Commissioner Christian,
The news of your appointment as Commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission was most welcome, as you have great experience working on issues of sustainability and justice; with New York Clean Energy at The Environmental Defense Fund, teaching energy efficiency at Columbia, your service with We Act!
That’s why I have written to you today with the hope that you will use your power to delay or better yet, HALT the solar tax (“Customer Benefit Charge”) proposed by the state and utility companies which would menace the further adaptation of solar installation across the state starting Jan 1st. This tax amounts to a $7-$10 a month increase in a homeowners overall electric bill which would significantly reduce one of the most alluring benefits (besides saving the planet) which is that going solar saves you money!
Another reason why this tax should be delayed or halted is that the proposed tax was formulated BEFORE the CLCPA and that we will not be able to meet our mandated climate goals with a tax on solar installation. Never mind that once the solar tax is baked in it would be impossible to reverse that because they will have changed their whole metering system and could pave the way to ratcheting up the tax in the future.
That’s why we are calling upon you to use your power to halt or at least delay this counterproductive Solar Tax so the State of NY can meet its climate laws in the CLCPA and continue to lead the nation in meeting our climate targets as set forth by New York state and the President.
All the best,
YOUR NAME and zipcode
2. Call Governor Hochul and the Department of Public Service
8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday
SAMPLE PHONE SCRIPT:
Hello, my name is XXX and I am calling today about NY State utility companies proposed solar tax, or “customer benefit charge” which would begin Jan.1 2022 on new solar installation across the state. The decision to go solar shouldn’t be penalized by a further tax, in fact it should be encouraged if we want our state to reach our new climate laws mandated in the CLCPA.
Please tell the governor/commissioner to stop the tax on solar.
3. Tweet Governor Hochul, The Department of Public Service, and Commissioner Christian
Hey @GovKathyHochul @NYSDPS @RoryChristianNY how are we supposed to meet our state’s climate goals mandated in the #CLCPA and NY-Sun Program solar expansion to 10 gigawatts if state utility companies get to levy a solar tax on new solar installation starting Jan 1? Please #StopTheSolarTax!