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Farmington Spotlight

Posted on: August 30, 2019

City of Farmington, Farmington Electric Utility System responds to misinformation circulating

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City of Farmington, Farmington Electric Utility System responds to misinformation circulating about standby service fees 

We’d like to provide clarification regarding recent misinformation circulating about standby service fees for self-generating customers, which are those who use solar power to provide a portion or all of their energy needs for their homes or businesses. Most important, we want to emphasize that the standby service fee is NOT a penalty. It IS, simply, an equitable means to ensure self-generating customers are not unfairly subsidized by typical customers and vice versa.  

The City of Farmington and Farmington Electric Utility System fully support customers who are working to increase “green” efforts in their homes or businesses. We are committed to ensuring that efficient back-up power is available to self-generating customers. Standby service provides reliability to those customers, as they remain connected to the FEUS power grid. The grid is standing by to supplement or back up power needs at a moment’s notice. To ensure a highly reliable supply of power to meet the needs of ALL customers, FEUS must reserve and maintain sufficient capacity on the system. This capacity benefits the customer whether they use any energy or not. FEUS must invest, maintain, and operate this capacity. Standby service simply quantifies and recovers the cost of providing reliability to customers.

“A key consideration in our rate study was a goal that everyone can have a choice in how power is supplied, but in doing so, everybody should pay their fair share of the costs,” stated Hank Adair FEUS director. 

Those fixed, or infrastructure, charges are not fully recovered in our base charge in the current rate design as noted in recent articles and opinions noted to the public. As such, without the standby rate implementation, those costs that should be borne by the customer who installed solar would be shifted to those who have not installed solar.    

The rate design with the standby rate still shows savings on a monthly bill for a multitude of installation designs when compared to a monthly bill of a customer without their own generation.  This, along with lower costs to install solar, has resulted in nearly identical numbers of customers interested in solar before or after the rate went into effect.

A Q&A providing additional information about standby service is available at http://bit.ly/StandbyQandA

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