Maine Stands for Rooftop Solar in New Poll from TASC

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A new poll from The Alliance for Solar Choice finds that eight out of ten Mainers oppose adding a charge for customers who generate their own electricity with rooftop solar or other technologies. The standby charge would require customers to pay an extra fee for being connected to the grid, even when those customers are using the electricity that they generated themselves.

The solar polls keep coming in, and they keep showing that Americans love solar. And they don’t want to be charged extra for it.

The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), today announced the findings of a new poll they funded — this one in a state you don’t hear about that much when it comes to solar — Maine. Maine has more solar resources than you might think, and as in many states, solar policies there have made news recently.

 

The TASC poll found that eight out of ten Mainers (82%) oppose adding a charge for customers who generate their own electricity with rooftop solar or other technologies.

 

Poll results indicate a general opposition to a standby charge, which has been proposed Central Maine Power (CMP). The standby charge would require customers to pay an extra fee for being connected to the grid, even when those customers are using the electricity that they generated themselves.

 

“It is clear that Mainers value their energy choice,” said Anne Smart, Executive Director of the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) in a statement today. “CMP’s proposal is a direct attack on its own customers and on the rooftop solar industry.”

 

Critical Insights interviewed 601 voters in Maine as part of a biannual statewide survey on business, government, and the general public.

 

As has been the case in other recent polls, support for solar and opposition to the charge was not limited to people with solar, or to liberal environmentalists. The poll found bipartisan opposition to CMP’s standby charge proposal, with the greatest opposition recorded from those with a lower socioeconomic status as well as younger voters.

 

CMP’s proposal is part of the utility’s Request for Alternative Rate Plan, currently under consideration by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Last month, more than 300 customers spoke out against the rate plan at public hearings held in Hallowell and Portland. In addition to the standby charge, CMP is also proposing an increase in fixed charges paid by all types of customers, making it more difficult for residents and businesses to offset their electricity bills through conservation or private investments in solar energy. The PUC must make a decision on CMP’s proposal by June 2014.