Wednesday, March 1, 2017

NJ customer sues utility for overcharging on solar homes

Jim Walsh reports for the  Asbury Park Press: 

CAMDEN - A proposed class-action lawsuit contends the state's largest utility is overbilling some customers with solar power systems.

The suit, filed by a Cherry Hill man, contends PSE&G and a third-party electricity provider, Stream Energy New Jersey, fail to properly credit customers who supply power to the regional grid through their homes' solar panels.

Under state law, a customer's monthly electricity bill must be reduced "on a one-to-one basis" for the number of kilowatt hours generated by home solar panels, according to Marlton attorney Joseph Osefchen, who filed the suit Monday in Superior Court, Camden.

He said any excess credits for solar power are to be carried over for a 12-month period – allowing a customer to offset electricity purchases during winter months through the sale of solar power in the summer.

Osefchen alleges PSE&G and Stream don't allow customers to bank their credits, "resulting in illegal overcharges for electric customers with solar energy panels." He said that violates the state's Consumer Fraud Act, which would allow customers to collect triple damages.

Osefchen said the lawsuit seeks to ensure "New Jersey electric customers who shell out thousands of dollars to 'go green' get all the credits to which they are legally entitled."

He said the suit may be expanded or additional complaints could be filed if other third-party providers are found to be engaged in similar conduct.

A PSE&G spokeswoman declined to comment on pending litigation. A representative of Texas-based Stream Energy could not be reached for comment.

Read the full story here

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