DENVER, Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new poll finds that nearly four in five Colorado voters (78%) support solar net metering, a successful renewable energy policy that monopoly utility Xcel is attacking. Net metering gives rooftop solar customers full retail credit for the excess energy they put back on the grid for the utility to sell to their neighbors. The poll's respondents adamantly reject Xcel's proposal to change this policy.
The bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Keating Research surveyed 400 voters throughout Colorado from November 17-19, 2013. Poll results show that statewide support for net metering exceeds 70 percent in every region around the state and is greater than 60 percent across all of the key voter groups in Colorado.
"Xcel wants to undermine fair and successful policies that increase the use of clean, local energy in our state," said Meghan Nutting, spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) and Director of Policy and Electricity Markets for SolarCity. "Xcel's plan is the exact wrong approach. It makes no sense to discourage individuals from generating their own rooftop solar energy in a state that has 300 days of sunshine a year."
Seventy-eight percent of Coloradans support net metering, with nearly half (45 percent) strongly in support. Only 11 percent of the state's electorate indicate opposition to the policy, with a mere 5 percent strongly opposed, and another one-in-ten (11 percent) unsure of their views on this policy.
The poll also finds that Coloradans aspires to have much more rooftop solar in the future, and intend to benefit from net metering's fair credit: A plurality of state voters (47 percent) say they do not have rooftop solar but are interested in someday purchasing it. Among these respondents, 80 percent oppose Xcel's proposal to change the net metering policy. Even among the 46 percent of state residents who are not interested in obtaining rooftop solar, more than two-thirds oppose this proposed change to net metering.
A recent study shows that in Colorado, net metered solar delivers an $11 million annual benefit to all Xcel ratepayers. By delivering electricity locally at the source of consumption, net metering reduces the need for expensive infrastructure power lines, and over time reduces the need to purchase expensive and polluting fossil fuels.
"Monopoly utilities across the country, like Xcel, continue to fail repeatedly in their attempts to stop solar competition." said Bryan Miller, TASC President and VP of Public Policy for Sunrun. "In every net metering battle, from Idaho, to Louisiana, to California, to Arizona, states have preserved net metering. The verdict of 2013 is that net metering is here to stay."
Xcel's attack on net metering follows several failed attempts by utilities nationwide to suppress rooftop solar by undermining net metering. The attacks follow the prescription of Washington, D.C. utility industry group Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Earlier this year EEI published a report warning against increasing threats to utility monopoly powers from renewable energy. It serves as a playbook for attacks on net metering to defend utility financial interests against competition and consumer choice.