by Will Greene
Arizona Public Service announced on Thursday its proposal to diminish the role rooftop solar plays in Arizona’s energy system by dramatically altering the state’s net metering program. APS offered two proposals to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) for their consideration - one that forces solar customers to use a rate plan that will result in significantly higher bills and the other consisting of a sizeable decrease in the value the utility places on solar electricity customers feed into the grid.
Both plans would decrease the average bill savings solar customers experience from 70% bill savings to 20-30%, according to APS. ACC staff will review the APS proposal and then provide its own recommendations to Commissioners. A final vote is not expected until the winter, but the public relations battle - and the effort to persuade Commissioners one way or the other - is in full swing. Read the Arizona Republic’s coverage - “APS Seeks Higher Bills for New Solar Customers”. APS is arguing that solar customers do not sufficiently contribute to overall grid-upkeep. Rooftop solar proponents believe that the current net metering arrangment has resulted in the success of an emerging industry, providing societal benefits and customer choice, and should not be altered, or if anything strengthened.
On Tuesday morning a rally organized by Barry Goldwater Jr.’s group “Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed” (TUSK) will provide a response focused on protecting energy choice for customers. The rally will be 10am at the State Capitol Senate Lawn (1700 W Washington St, Phoenix).
Energy policy group “Vote Solar” has created an easy format for Arizona’s citizens to contact the ACC’s five Commissioners on the matter.
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