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More, More, I Want More!!

It's an interesting phenomenon; the more people have, the more they think they are entitled to have. While the point of this blog is not to analyze human nature, there is a particularly troubling implication that grows from this trait when it comes to the FIT, or more accurately, the Micro-FIT program.

The vast majority of people, at least in the North American context, seem to take for granted the availability of energy-upon-demand - "I want it - I take it" no hesitation or doubt, just flip the switch. The infrequent blips or outages are rare and of very short duration and lead to no real questioning of "the system" that makes this energy available. While this applies to all forms of energy we use, natural gas for space heating, gasoline for our cars, etc, the focus of this post is the electricity for our homes.

Most people have no idea of the enormous complexity of our electrical grid or of the incredible costs of setting it up and maintaining it - and yet we are all utterly dependent upon it to provide us a "normal" lifestyle. The grid is the product of a century of building, of billions and billions of dollars spent and millions of manhours on construction, service and maintenance. This is not a thing to be trifled with - unless you want to risk freezing in the dark.

Yet the solar PV and wind industries feel as if they are entitled to hack into the grid anywhere they please so they can sell expensive, unpredictable, unreliable energy. It's not their problem if it destabilizes the grid - that's the OPA's responsibility! The OPA and OPG are responsible to accommodate the PV and wind industry - the government has told them to do so!

Individual homeowners are part of the demanding horde. Or better defined as "rich" homeowners, part of the top 1% who have a large chunk of cash that they can afford to spend on a fancy piece of hardware that is supposed to make electricity that they can sell to others in their neighborhood at over 8 times the cost they normally pay for electricity - and it's all guaranteed by the government for the next 20+ years!!

The sense of entitlement extends even further with the average Micro-FIT owner. Experience shows that owners of these systems start using more electricity than they used before their solar electric systems were installed! Perhaps this is because they feel that since they are supplying electricity they are entitled to use more - after all they are still paying for it. The grossly inflated price they get back from selling what they generate MORE than offsets the extra cost of what they use. In some cases solar electric system have specifically been installed to cover the extra costs of electricity from converting to electric heating (heat pumps or electrical baseboards). In all cases the electrical rate-paying public (you and me) is then charged with subsidizing the increased electrical consumption of these individuals!! This increased use of electricity also contravenes the whole intent of the Green Energy program.

There is an easy solution - claw-back the increased electrical consumption from the monies paid for the solar electricity, at the Micro-FIT rate. Or put another way, charge the Micro-FIT rate for the additional electricity consumed. There are a few logistical issue to making this happen, but all of the necessary information is already available. There will be an electricity consumption history for existing dwellings or buildings. In new-building solar electric installations - all electricity consumed should be discounted off of what is delivered - basically a net metering scenario (at higher rates presumably).This should apply to FIT PV farms as well. This is only fair. The FIT program was not intended to subsidize electricity consumption. The premium rates paid were to encourage people to generate electricity for the grid, not to use more of it at their neighbor’s expense!