Industry Market Trends

Are Electric Utilities Too Big to Fail?

May 24, 2013

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the nation’s seventh largest investor-owned utility, has more retail customers than any other. Like many utilities, they offer a variety of services, including the installation of solar PV systems that allow customers to generate their own power while selling the excess back through net metering. Due to a number of factors including state utility regulations and dynamic market forces, PG&E, despite its size, is finding itself unable to compete on price with private solar contractors. At the same time, its current residential electric rates, which run between 31 and 35 cents per kWh are high enough to drive more customers toward solar, where they become sellers rather than buyers. Even those for whom PG&E performs the installations, the solar panels are ultimately cutting into the company’s profitability. Read More