Arizona’s Biggest Utility is Attacking Rooftop Solar

rooftop solar net-metering
Image courtesy of the Energy Freedom Coalition.

Arizona’s largest utility provider, Arizona Public Service, has filed a radical and untested proposal seeking to become the first utility in the United States to impose mandatory demand charges on its customers.  The utility is also seeking to eliminate net metering, rooftop solar’s cornerstone policy.

Arizona, once considered a national leader for rooftop solar, has seen its solar progress grind to a halt over the last few years due to persistent utility attacks.  This year, the utility attacks are aimed at all ratepayers of Arizona, designed to keep people from going solar.

Kris Mayes, of the Energy Freedom Coalition of America (EFCA), voiced concern about the APS proposal: “Demand charges are a dangerous plan that will force customers to constantly monitor their energy use out of fear of exorbitant charges. They especially penalize customers who have made substantial investments to reduce energy and contribute to more resilientArizona energy future.”

“The loss of net metering in Arizona would mean the loss of thousands of jobs and consumer choice.  Arizona will take a giant step backwards in transforming its energy future if this proposal is approved.”

The Conservative Alliance for Solar Energy, CASE, also criticized the APS plan, calling it an overt attempt to stifle competition inArizona.

“This effort by APS to impose demand charges poses a serious setback to the ability of all Arizonans to produce their own power,” said Dru Bacon, co-Chairman of CASE. “We call on the Commission to reject this anti-competitive plan.”

Across the country, critics of demand charges ranging from the solar industry to AARP have pushed back on utility proposals that include demand charges and have prevailed.

Salt River Project instituted demand rates for solar customers that ended the industry overnight. Net metering was eliminated inNevada and killed the solar industry.  Here, Arizona Public Service is asking to do both.

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