Utilities could charge for distributed generation under Oklahoma law

The US state of Oklahoma has passed a new law which opens the door for utilities to impose extra charges on owners of rooftop solar systems or small wind turbines, according to reports.

The law allows utilities to establish a separate customer class and monthly surcharge for distributed power generation.

However, it does not mandate the charges, and an accompanying Executive Order from Governor Mary Fallin said that, 'prior to implementation of any fixed charges', the law 'allows the [state regulator] to consider the use of all available alternatives, including other rate reforms such as increased use of time-of-use rates, minimum bills and demand charges.'

The Executive Order also said the regulator must undertake a 'transparent evaluation of distributed generation' that 'mandates inclusion of all stakeholders, including representatives of the solar and distributed wind industries, and utilities.'

MSNBC news commentator Rachel Maddow said the law 'essentially fines people for the crime of using solar power', but the pro-solar Alliance for Solar Choice applauded the governor for 'demonstrating a commitment to distributed generation and energy choice for Oklahomans'.  

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