The Provo City Council voted to add a $3 per kilowatt fee to solar customers' monthly bill. Mayor John Curtis is still waiting for the legislation to cross his desk, but he plans to veto it.
Curtis says the 3-4 vote left the impression that the city wasn’t receptive to alternative energy sources, but that’s not the case. He says his veto is not a jab at the council, but an opportunity to take a closer look at the issue.
“If they do override it, I think that we would work really hard to see if we could substitute what was passed with something that would be a little bit better,” Curtis says.
Provo is facing declining revenue to their power company because of a combination of energy efficiencies and customers using renewable energy sources like solar panels.
Ryan Evans is President of the Utah Solar Energy Association.
“Provo power is certainly looking at it from their needs,” he says. “They may not understand all that solar can do to help offset some of those costs and actually provide benefit back to the grid and back to the company and back to their fellow residents.”
Provo City Council Chair Kim Santiago voted against the $3 fee. She expects the council will override the veto. But she’s hoping for an opportunity to bring the divergent viewpoints together.
“I don’t have any set idea about how this should roll forward but I want it to be equitable,” Santiago says. “I just want it to be fair and I want the stakeholders to feel like they had a place at the table. That we included them in the discussion.”
If the council overrides the veto and the legislation stands, it would go into effect in January.