Local lawmakers and solar companies are turning up the heat on LIPA and the state to reject or at least delay a monthly charge to be levied on homeowners who install rooftop solar systems after Jan. 1.
LIPA has signaled its intent to adopt its own version of the state policy approved this summer that institutes a "customer benefit contribution" for new solar customers aimed at getting them to pay for a menu of utility programs they otherwise might avoid because solar can eliminate most or all of their electric bills.
The new charge would add from $5 to $10 or more a month for average residential solar customers’ bills.
LIPA is not required to adopt the charge, but is holding public hearings starting this month as its board prepares to adopt the charge in December.
On Wednesday, state senators Jim Gaughran (D-Northport), John Brooks (D-Seaford) and Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), said they’d draft legislation to overturn the statewide rule.
"Now more than ever, we should be encouraging homeowners to adopt sustainable energy solutions like solar, not penalizing them with an additional monthly charge." Thomas said.