Alabama Power fees on solar challenged

Alabama Power fees on solar challenged
Alabama Power argues the fee is needed because the utility has to be able to provide backup power when the panels don't provide enough energy.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Environmental groups and homeowners are challenging a fee charged by Alabama Power on customers who use solar panels, or other means, to generate part of their electricity.

Keith Johnston of the Southern Environmental Law Center says the fee discourages people from using solar power. He said it is essentially a solar tax.

Alabama Power argues the fee is needed because the utility has to be able to provide backup power when the panels don't provide enough energy.

The Public Service Commission will hear the complaint on Nov. 21.

The petition asks the commission to bar Alabama Power from collecting the $5 per kilowatt capacity fee. Alabama Power is asking to be allowed to increase the charge to $5.42.