John Klar: Net metering is regressive

Renewable energy technologies are not renewable but disposable. They do not save the planet but accelerate its destruction by gobbling up huge quantities of natural resources and fossil fuels in their manufacturing, creating mountains of waste and toxic runoff that destroys soils, water, air and human communities.

Moreover, these climate-destroying products are being paid for by low-income Vermonters who are the least able to afford them, and are instead “affording” them to wealthier people.

John Klar

Taking money from the poor to fund the rich is not “progressive” but “regressive” — it is a form of reverse-Robin-Hood wealth theft, siphoning off retirees’ bank accounts at the gas pump, oil tank filling, and electric rate payments, like an endless Chinese water torture of dripping thievery. This whole scheme has been championed by the so-called Vermont Progressives to impoverish Vermonters in the name of “saving” them.

The jig is up, and Vermonters are not dancing. The state Legislature and regulators not only must end this scam, but be held accountable for inflicting it on those they have been entrusted to serve. As I wrote in a commentary here over two-and-a-half years ago titled “Weaving Nets for the Poor”:

“Vermont is guinea pig for progressive experimentation on wealth redistribution masked as ‘climate action.’ … This wealth transfer impacts poor and elderly ratepayers, who are forced to subsidize those with the resources to install expensive — and profitable — solar arrays. … Poor ratepayers are undermined in their ability to install comparable systems because their wealth is depleted by inflated fee structures. … These special-interest, government-imposed schemes transfer wealth and gentrify Vermont while hurting economic growth.”

Last year I repeated these truths, noting that costs are passed through to ratepayers, many of whom cannot afford or do not support solar power. It is also unethical and unconstitutional since there is no due process by which ratepayers can appeal this extrication of wealth.

My article also reported a DPUC finding that “the additional cost of net-metering means that each 20 MW of new capacity creates a cost shift of $47.4 million to non-participating customers over 25 years.” Also the Department of Public Service made a determination that “net-metering systems installed through 2018 are costing customers an additional $37 million annually, or $60 per residential customer.”

The Department contends that this cost shift falls heaviest on lower-income Vermonters who cannot afford the up-front costs of purchasing a net-metering system.

Yet electricity ratepayers have continued to pay these costs uninterrupted, as the slow-dripping theft continued. This much change. Washington Electric Co-op is a well-run nonprofit held hostage to these statutory and regulatory abuses. In announcing recent rate increases, its Board and General Manager are joining the call to end this shameless Chinese drip (literally Chinese, since most solar panels are manufactured in China). In a Sept. 8 position statement, they opine:

As the most expensive form of renewable power in the state, net metering raises the cost of electricity to Vermonters who do not own such systems while it lowers the costs for those who do. The resulting inequity is disturbing. … After 25 years of net metering it is time for the state to encourage the mature solar industry to stand on its own alongside other equally valuable renewable resources.

Most Vermonters now know why their electric rates are nearly 50% higher than national averages — they are subsidizing the virtue-signaling elites who cruise around in quiet rigs while sneering derisively at those of us who drive used pick-up trucks or can’t afford a new muffler. Yet this has not stopped the naked emperors from crowing about their achievements as “national leadership,” as Peter Welch and Becca Balint recently did at a Quechee forum. Nor has it halted additional drip-thieving initiatives like the Global Warming Solutions Act, and the “Clean Heat” effort last session to tax heating oil to finance expensive heat pumps. This is a scandal that gets ever more scandalous.

Are Vermont’s legislators literally deaf, or just “hear-no-evil” evildoers who plunge forward in their deluded ideology in cognitive dissonance and callous disregard for those they harm? Whatever the dastardly case, this must stop. In fact, a commission should be formed to determine how the ratepayers are to be repaid! That would be the “equitable” plan – ratepayer reparations.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2022. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain
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4 thoughts on “John Klar: Net metering is regressive

  1. Thank you for this informative article. In my case you are preaching to the choir.
    I was wondering if there was a less incendiary version that one could pass on to liberal friends? A non-combative version, they too, would find informative and helpful. A version that they would be more likely to finish in its entirety and consider and think about. A potentially influential version?

  2. Thank you John. You are absolutely right! Not only should there be no more subsidies (including net-metering, et.al.) on so-called “renewables” there should be added costs to those products based on the pollution created in their manufacture such as the toxic slurry used and then a result of lithium manufacturing.
    Also, there needs to be added costs to the electricity to power all the e-cars the world is rushing headlong to build and sell to equate to the taxes states have put on gas to repair and maintain the roadway infrastructure.
    What you have highlighted is simply the national progressive left cost-shifting from those that can pay to those that cannot.

  3. It is a total crime & scam. If someone wants to put solar in, pay for it themselves and use that power….great! The crime, and scam is….some tax subsides….but then to encourgae “greenie” power…the PUBLIC UTILITIES are forced to take their power at a very high $$ per KWH rate…a subsidy. Furthermore….these “happy hippie homeowners (rich)”…are FREE RIDERS…..FREE STUFF….because they do not pay a single penny into the distribution lines of the power they may make. I talk of all the power lines and poles. I was on Washington Electric…one of the most rural Elec Co-Ops in USA…the amount of backroads they have for line maintainence is massive. Tree’s grow fast. Storms, rain, tree’s, broken lines etc….the FREE LOADER solar people force their $$$$ solar power to Wasington Electric…but pay nothing to maintain distribution lines…and Wash Elec then has to raise rates to all others…..it’s a scam. These solar types should get LESS KWH $ than mkt rate for their power, and they should pay a MANDATORY month fee to Wash Elec to USE THEIR POWER LINES..

    How typical? Democrats , enviro’s….free ride and free stuff.

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