Solar Users Blast Modesto Irrigation District over Fee Hike

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MODESTO--

Modesto Irrigation District customers can expect to see a change in their utility bill.

According to the district, most consumers will see a decrease but for the homeowners who will see their bills spike, they claim the change isn’t fair.

“(I decided to go solar to) save money, go green, help out the environment and save some money,” Kurt Mathieson, whose home is outfitted with solar panels, told FOX40.

But this choice comes at a price. Soon, their homes will see their MID utility bills increase by 60 percent,

"I think it stinks. I really think it stinks,” Mathieson told FOX40.

"This is a fixed charge, like I said, so it’s not something we can control by using less light, or using less air-conditioning in the summer,” Zach August explained to us.

August has solar panels at his home, and is also a sales representative with a company that sells them. At MID headquarters he and dozens of other customers shared their concerns about the rate change at Tuesday morning’s board meeting. The motion to change the rate was approved unanimously.

A move the company claimed will benefit most ratepayers, but admitted solar panel homeowners are part of a minority of consumers who will see their bills increase from a fixed rate of $12.50 a month to $20 a month.

“More than half of our customers will see their bills decrease because of the restructure where the fixed fee went from $12.50 to $20; we also reduce the energy charge,” Jimi Netniss, a Financial Planning Manager with MID said.

But it's frustrating for homeowners who go green.

“We’re trying to save energy, you know, go green, reduce our carbon footprint and then we get punished for doing it,” Mathieson said.

For MID, it's a necessary action.

MID said the changes will take affect on Jan. 1, 2016 and added that they are not gaining more revenue from this change and the move is just a reflection of how much it really costs to serve their consumers.

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