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Solar City Lease and issue with LA DWP fees

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  • Solar City Lease and issue with LA DWP fees

    Hello. I'm trying to figure out what to do with my fees with the Los Angeles (LA) DWP. Before you go 'you made a bad move, you got screwed, why did you do that, etc.', I've figured that out myself so let's get to some possible solutions instead. I've attached a copy of the fees I pay to the LA DWP. Add on my $100 a month for my solar city lease and my bill is not very good. (I already know that). So does anyone have any solutions about what can be done?

    I've heard to buy the system and my fees will disappear because I now own the system. The most likely possibility for me to do.

    The biggest difference is that my system is on a duplex which to the LA DWP is a 'commercial' property even though every other agency sees a duplex as 'residential.'

    I have spoken to the LA DWP bill and the lemming behind the phone says those are the fees and 'it is what it is.'

    Solar City lemmings have said to add on more panels to make more power. - I don't think that is a solution on getting rid of those fees.

    Any realistic solutions are appreciated. Trolls can stay home. Thanks.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    More information is needed to do any analysis. How many kiloWatt Hours (kWhrs) has your system produced over a year? You will need to get that information from Solar City who is monitoring the output of your system. How much have you consumed over that same period. Your bill says NEM so I assume you have one meter with a Net Energy Metering arrangement. So you may have to do some math to figure out your total consumption by adding the kWhrs produced to the net energy that LADWP is billing you for. While you may be considered commercial, you may still have rate options within that.. Do you know what those are? LADWP is a municipal utility that is not regulated by the CPUC as far as I know. The good news is that municipal utility rates have tended to be lower than SCE.

    If you are already on a TOU rate or that is available then one of the options you may have is to shift loads to a less expensive time. You didn't mention what your loads are and whether you have already done any energy saving efforts. Replacing Incandescent bulbs with LED light bulbs is the low hanging fruit of energy saving processes.
    Last edited by Ampster; 03-17-2019, 07:11 PM.
    9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012


    • #3
      I went to the LADWP website to try to get a better understanding of their rate structure. I didn't learn much except that the largest component of your bill may be a demand charge (the facility charge of $108}. If that is the case it would be based on the highest demand over the past 12 months. There may be an opportunity to reduce that by peak shaving but I would need to know more about the large energy consuming devices in your home. What are they and when do they start running? Do you know when that peak demand occurred that the facility charge is based on?
      Last edited by Ampster; 03-17-2019, 07:16 PM.
      9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012


      • #4
        [USER="44523"]Ampster[/USER] Thanks for the input. I think your idea for cutting off appliances during peak time is a good idea. I know that I produce about 6,500kWh per year and it covers most of my electricity use. But when I compare my bill with other people who have bought their solar panel systems, they have none of the expenses that I have except for city taxes. Thus their bill is only $20 to 30. The question I have is how to get rid off all those fees I'm getting charged.


        • #5
          Originally posted by jay_in_la View Post
          [USER="44523"]........ The question I have is how to get rid off all those fees I'm getting charged.
          You aren't going to get rid of any of those fees per se, but you can reduce them by understanding what drives them. The charges for energy usage are small so it would seem that you are covering some of your usage with your solar. .

          The biggest fee is the demand charge. LADWP uses the highest usage during a specific interval. I don't know if that is 5 minutes or one hour. Whatever the period it then becomes a fixed charge for the rest of the year. Whatever you can do to reduce that could save a lot. If I recall it is over $50 per month. Is there some equipment with a big motor that uses a lot of power running sometime in the last year? That is what you need to focus on. LADWP may be able to help you identify when that high usage occurred and when it might roll off. Another one if your fees is a tax based on the total of the bill so that should come down if you can get that demand charge reduced. Is this a home or business?
          Last edited by Ampster; 03-19-2019, 03:17 PM.
          9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012


          • #6
            [USER="44523"]Ampster[/USER] I agree that the solar panels are helping to keep the actual usage low but the fees are so high that they are negating any savings. Your point on the demand charge makes sense. If anything uses the most power it's our AC unit and the fridge. I'll try asking LADWP what the demand period is. My guess it's in the evening when we're home and using everything for dinner and hanging out at home. I'm in a residential duplex so it makes me wonder if some of these fees are because I'm seen as a 'commercial' place.


            • #7

              Absolutely, the demand charge is only used for commercial accounts and that is what is hurting you. Over $50 a month for that alone. I have a 4 unit apartment but tenants have individual residential accounts and I have one house meter for lights, EV chargers and gate openers. That house meter is on a commercial rate and EV chargers only run at 4kW and I have them connected in a way that they share the 4kW to avoid larger demand charges with SCE.

              Perhaps you can show them you own and live there. I dont know LADWP rules but there has to be a workaround. Try framing the issue for some Google searches and you might find better info than on this forum alone.
              Last edited by Ampster; 03-21-2019, 01:20 AM.
              9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012