This article describes a classic example of how utilities get paid for us NOT buying their product. It's by Don Brandt, chairman and CEO of Arizona Public Service Co., a utility company which has been busy seeking higher bills for new solar power customers in the state. According to Brandt:
Under the current rules, roof-top solar customers benefit from a reliable grid, but use it at little to no cost. As a result, customers who can’t afford, can’t install or simply don’t want roof-top solar pay more.
After a series of public meetings, we have submitted a recommendation to the Arizona Corporation Commission that would update the current policy — called “net metering” — so that future customers who choose roof-top solar get compensated at a fair rate for the power they generate and also pay a fair price for their use of the grid.
In other words, Brandt's argument is that people who put solar panels on their roofs are some sort of moochers, and need to cough up more money to the utility. Or, to put it another way, the more power you don't buy from the utility, the more you should get penalized for it. Wonderful.
P.S. If you haven't read it, we strongly recommend David Roberts' superb article, Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about.