Dear Editor,

I’d like to let other Santa Monica solar panel customers who switched to the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) in 2019 know that like me, they may not be compensated for their excess energy production. Because of this, I am switching back to SCE as my energy provider.

We installed solar panels on our home in 2018. As the State of California requires, our capacity was designed to be just over our consumption.

When Santa Monica moved to the CPA in 2019, we did not opt out of moving from SCE as the CPA said we would be paid 10% more than the SCE rate for our surplus energy.

I finally took the time to review our CPA bills to understand our compensation for our surplus energy. Since the value of our surplus energy for each year ending in April was less than $100, CPA did not send us a check, but gave us a credit for the new year’s Net Energy Monitoring (NEM) credit balance that each month’s surplus or deficit energy is tracked for the year.

The issue is that when we start using more energy than we generate, typically in November, they charge the deficit against the surplus energy credit first. We have a positive NEM credit balance throughout and at the end of each year. This is reset to zero at the end of the year, so the end result is that we are not receiving any payment for our surplus energy.

Because CPA doesn’t send checks to customers whose excess energy value is less than $100 and that they then use this credit first (they explained that they are doing this as a standard accounting practice of first in, first out) we never get paid for our surplus energy.

CPA knows of this issue but is not doing anything to address it. The CPA service representative suggested I bring it up to the Board of Directors to try to get them to address it. I’ve already spent too much time on this so I’m just switching back to SCE who did pay us for our excess energy before we moved to CPA.

Karen Melick, Santa Monica