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As representatives from SDG&E make their rounds defending a proposal to raise rates on solar-users, environmental activists and residents are petitioning the state's energy commission to deny the rate hike.

The proposal, if approved, will allow SDG&E to restructure their current billing scheme and begin charging a monthly "network use charge" to help pay for maintenance of the grid. The rate increase would amount to approximately $22 per month for residential solar users, and thousands per month for school districts and water plants that have converted to solar.

"...Please stop San Diego Gas & Electric's attempt to raise its already industry-high rates, as well as their campaign to inhibit the use of solar energy by imposing dramatic increases in fees to the users of solar electricity. These unjust fee hikes, if approved, would set an extremely damaging, nationwide precedent for other utility companies to follow that would have a huge, adverse effect on this country's transition to solar energy," reads the on-line petition.

Just under 7,000 have signed the petition, leaving only 3,000 signatures until the drive meets its goal.

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