...have passed revisions to their net metering policies that would included fixed monthly surcharges for residences and businesses that install solar to make it less competitive with conventional forms energy.
Well, that's not a biased statement at all, is it? I don't know all of the details of who wants want law passed to do who knows what, but I think there is a legitimate argument to be made for a fixed monthly charge.
A standard, non-solar customer is hooked up to the grid, and uses 100% of the power companies power 100% of the time. The power company knows this, so they are able to figured out what to charge the customer for things like power generation, transmission, distribution, etc.
Along comes a solar user, and they use 50% of the power company's power 50% of the time. BUT, they want to be hooked up and able to use the power company 100% of the time, so the power company still has to maintain the same infrastructure, but now they are getting less from the customer. Sure, they are saving on not having to generate the power for them sometimes, but the transmission and distribution cost are rolled into the cost of your generated power.
Look at it this way. Say they were earning $10mil a month from their customers, and $5mil was generation costs and $5mil was distribution costs. Suddenly, half of their customers go solar, cutting the amount of power generated by 20%. Now they made $8mil. Their generation cost was $4mil, leaving $4mil for distribution maintenance. But they still have $5mil worth of maintenance because all of their customers still are hooked up to the same system. How do you make up that $1mil shortfall?
To be fair, maybe the power company just needs to split the bill so that every household pays a fixed infrastructure charge, regardless of how much you use, and then tack on the cost of your actual usage.