APS submitted a plan to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on July 12th that, if adopted, will charge a $50 -$100 fee to new customers who install solar panels for their own energy generation and use.
To reduce objections to this proposal, customers who already have installed rooftop solar, along with those who have submitted an application to interconnect a system by mid-October, would be given a 20-year grace period before the new policy takes effect. This grandfathering provision will help prevent existing solar customers protesting the plan – smart move by APS.
According to the Energy Information Administration, rooftop solar electricity accounts for less than a quarter of 1 percent of the nation’s power generation (1% in Arizona). And yet, to hear executives tell it, such power sources could ultimately threaten traditional utilities’ ability to maintain the nation’s grid.
While regulators in Idaho and Louisiana recently rejected similar proposals from local public utilities, the decision in Arizona will be watched closely to see whether the ACC will agree with APS that the fees are warranted.
The Arizona Utilities already get around $220M a year from your electricity bills environmental benefits surcharge line item; added to support renewable energy programs; they have also significantly reduced their initial rebates for rooftop solar programs from $3000 per KW to $100 per KW, or 97%. Where is all this money going?
They have recently been given permission by the ACC to an across the board price increase to compensate for lower electricity use by solar customers and the need for extra money to support infrastructure; and now they want a surcharge for those solar customers using the grid; again based on infrastructure cost.
This must be Christmas for APS. They have turned a government program to reduce fossil fuel electrical generation by supporting renewable energy into a money making machine – should we be surprised? Should the ACC let them get away with it?