Current Utility News
Current News

AIC Briefs

 

Letter of Opposition to AG-1 Extension
Monday, 8 December 2014

AIC Comments on 111(d)
Tuesday, 2 December 2014

AIC Four Corners Surrebuttal
Monday, 21 July 2014

AIC Testimony on Four Corners
Friday, 20 June 2014

AIC Testimony on UNS/Fortis Settlement
Monday, 2 June 2014

AIC Letter on Net Metering
Monday, 4 November 2013

Deregulation Responsive Comments
Thursday, 17 October 2013

Deregulation Comments
Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Conferences

Click the links below to watch the upcoming debate or watch the archived debated.

debate-webcast-july2014

 

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SRP and Its Regulators Meet Often
SRP and Its Regulators Meet Often
randazzo-ryan Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 6:53 p.m. MST May 8, 2015
SRP
 
There's been lots of talk lately about the so-called "secret" meetings that former Arizona Corporation Commission member Gary Pierce had with the CEO and other executives at the biggest utility he regulated, Arizona Public Service Co.
 
The Arizona Republic covered the issue a week ago, and the story is available online.
 
Pierce met 11 times with APS CEO Don Brandt while Pierce was a commissioner. The five commissioners regulate rates and other policies.
 
ndustry observers debate whether it is useful to have regulators lend an ear to a regulated utility so often. The communication might help them make better decisions, but on the other hand, the relationship might be too cozy.
 
It's hard not to notice the discrepancy between APS and Salt River Project over their relationships with their regulators. When a Corporation Commission member meets with APS officials, it draws a public outcry. The Washington, D.C., area Checks and Balances Project is even investigating the commission for its ties to utilities.
 
Over at SRP, the other big utility in the state, those kinds of meetings are business as usual. SRP isn't regulated by the commission. SRP is governed by the board of directors. The utility managers don't meet privately with board members 11 times in eight years, as Pierce did with the APS chief executive; they meet much more often.
Read more...
 
Steller: Rooftop Solar Could Get A Lot More Expensive
Steller: Rooftop Solar Could Get A Lot More Expensive

Tim Stellar

May 05, 2015 7:33 pm  •  By Tim Steller  •  tucson.com/Tucson Daily Star

For two years, Arizona Public Service wore the black hat in our state’s shoot-em-up at the solar corral.

Now all of Southern Arizona’s utilities are riding into the fight wearing hats in various dark shades.

Trico Electric Cooperative, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative and Tucson Electric Power have all taken steps to increase the costs of power for people who install new rooftop solar systems. Their moves come after APS and the Salt River Project — the Phoenix area’s largest electric utilities — succeeded at raising the cost of rooftop solar for homeowners and businesses, drastically driving down the number of people installing solar panels in the Salt River Project’s service area.

Read more...
 
UniSource Energy Services Seeks Approval of New Electric Rates to Better Reflect Customers' Use of Its Upgraded Utility System
May 5, 2015 21:00 UTC
UniSource Energy Services Seeks Approval of New Electric Rates to Better Reflect Customers’ Use of Its Upgraded Utility System 
KINGMAN, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- UniSource Energy Services (UES) has requested new electric rates with higher fixed charges, lower energy costs and other changes that better reflect the cost of serving customers’ energy needs. 
 
The proposal UES filed today with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) would increase average residential bills by about $1.99 per month on May 1, 2016. One year later, when a proposed temporary bill credit expires, average residential bills would increase another $7.87 per month. 
 
The revised rates would better match customer charges to the costs of operating and improving UES’ electric system, including a newly purchased natural gas-fired power plant, a new large-scale solar array and other recent upgrades, said David Hutchens, President and CEO of UES. 
 
“We have invested in a modern, efficient system that will reliably serve our customers for decades to come,” Hutchens said. “Now we need updated rates that are equally responsive to our customers’ evolving use of our local electric system.” 
 
UES’ current rates are based on costs incurred through June 2012. Since then, the company has invested about $170 million to acquire new power production resources, upgrade its transmission and distribution systems, and make other improvements to better serve customers. UES also faces higher costs to operate, maintain and repair its systems. In 2014, for example, crews rebuilt a Lake Havasu City transmission line that sustained serious damage in two summer storms.
Read more...
 
TEP,UES Support New Program to Install Solar on Habitat for Humanity Homes
May 4, 2015 15:00 UTC
TEP, UES Support New Program to Install Solar on Habitat for Humanity Homes 
TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and sister company UniSource Energy Services (UES) have contributed $25,000 to kick-start a fundraising effort to install solar arrays on Habitat for Humanity homes. 
 
The new TEP/UES Voluntary Solar Contribution Program directs contributions to a fund managed by the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF). The proceeds will fund systems that help Habitat for Humanity’s clients reduce their energy expenses, while contributing to Arizona’s growing green energy portfolio. 
 
“This program represents another valuable partnership with Habitat that allows us to continue to promote solar energy, while reducing energy costs for families transitioning out of poverty,” said David G. Hutchens, TEP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. 
 
Funds contributed to the program will pay for system purchase, installation and five years of maintenance. Habitat for Humanity’s Arizona chapters will select installation sites and clients who satisfy its requirements regarding home ownership and “sweat equity.” Licensed, qualified solar installers will install and maintain the systems. 
Read more...
 
Solar Industry Largely Prevails at Legislature, But Remains Wary
Solar Industry Largely Prevails at Legislature, But Remains Wary
By: Rachel Leingang  azcapitoltimes.com May 1, 2015 , 3:40 pm
 
Capitol Times
 
The solar leasing industry successfully lessened the blow of a bill that added disclosures to leases homeowners sign when they get solar panels, but advocates for solar say the industry is often on the defensive.
 
SB1465, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, was intended to protect consumers from potentially predatory leasing practices. Lesko said she decided to sponsor the bill after two of her constituents, an elderly couple, were stuck in a 20-year solar lease that made selling their home difficult.
 
“It’s just worrisome. It’s something we just really need to keep an eye on,” Lesko told the Arizona Capitol Times when she introduced the bill.
 
But solar leasers called the bill a poison pill and said it would maim the industry in Arizona unless certain provisions, like including serial numbers of parts placed on roofs, were taken out.
 
By and large, the solar industry prevailed. The bill was amended until industry advocacy groups were neutral, and some of the more onerous parts were removed. As introduced, the bill exempted utilities from its provisions, though the final version removed that exemption.
 
Still, that the bill was entertained in the first place is curious in a state that generally pans regulations, said Court Rich, an attorney with the solar advocacy group The Alliance for Solar Choice.
 
“The solar industry is well regulated already, and the provisions that got adopted, many of them are duplicative,” Rich said.
Read more...
 
Utility Regulator's Meetings with APS Scrutinized
Utility Regulator's Meetings with APS Scrutinized
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 8:58 p.m. MST May 2, 2015
 
corp comA whistleblower in February raised eyebrows in political circles when he reported a former utility regulator had frequent "secret" meetings with the chief executive of Arizona Public Service Co., the biggest company regulated by the state.
 
But such meetings aren't secret — in fact, they are business as usual. Meetings between utility officials and the elected officials who regulate them are a near-daily occurrence, an Arizona Republic review of the regulators' calendars for the past eight years shows.
 
The five Arizona Corporation Commission members meet with representatives of gas and electric companies, rooftop-solar companies, water companies, the state's consumer utility watchdog and executives from other companies that have business before the commission.
 
These meetings, one-on-one or with staff members present, are one way to learn about company operations before a rate case or other request is made and scheduled for a hearing, commissioners say.
 
The gatherings gained attention after Gary Pierce, an eight-year commission member and former chairman who left office in December, was targeted in a letter from his former assistant at the commission. The letter suggested Pierce was close with APS, the company he was responsible for regulating. It highlighted 14 private meetings with APS' CEO or other top executives.
 
Pierce also has faced fierce questions from his critics after his votes siding with APS in recent years. Now out of political office, he called the whistleblower letter a "typical disgruntled-employee type of thing."
 
 
The assistant's allegations are under review by the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
Read more...
 
Pinnacle West Reports 2015 First Quarter Results

Pinnacle West News

PINNACLE WEST REPORTS 2015 FIRST-QUARTER RESULTS
• Results in line with expectations; full-year 2015 earnings guidance affirmed
• Revenue adjustors help offset mild weather as Company readies its fossil plants for summer demand
• Company continues growing its solar energy portfolio
 
PHOENIX – Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW) today reported consolidated net income attributable to common shareholders of $16.1 million, or $0.14 per diluted share of common stock, for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. This result compares with $15.8 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the same period in 2014. For both the 2015 and 2014 first-quarter periods, net income is the same as on-going earnings.
 
“We are off to another solid start this year despite seasonal weather patterns that remained unfavorable compared to historical averages, as well as an increase in fossil power plant maintenance designed to ensure our generation fleet operates reliably during Arizona’s upcoming hot summer months,” said Pinnacle West Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Don Brandt.
 
Brandt said the Company also continues to grow an already diverse energy portfolio with the addition of two more APS-owned solar plants scheduled to come on line this summer. The two new facilities will each produce 10 megawatts of solar energy, enough power to supply 5,000 homes. “In addition,” he said, “as part of our innovative Solar Partner Program, we will begin installing solar panels this quarter on the rooftops of 1,500 residential customers.”
Read more...
 
SolarCity Relocating 85 Arizona Workers, Cites Solar Fees
SolarCity Relocating 85 Arizona Workers, Cites Solar Fees
randazzo-ryanRyan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 1:51 p.m. MST April 30, 2015
 
APSIn the wake of Salt River Project's recent solar rate hike, SolarCity Corp., the largest rooftop solar installer in the state, is relocating at least 85 of its 900 Arizona workers out of state, with more to come.
 
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said Wednesday the SRP fees approved in February are too restrictive and eliminate the potential to save money with solar for nearly all customers.
 
"That is bad for the economy," Rive said. "Arizona is the state with all the sun. All the other states (where we operate) are doubling their solar capacity, and Arizona is shrinking, which makes no sense."
 
Rive said last week the company met with 275 installers in the company's five Phoenix offices and offered them relocation packages to other states where the company is expanding. As of Wednesday, 85 took the offer to move.
 
Rive said more transfers are likely from the company's sales department, and layoffs are a possibility, depending on business the rest of the year.
 
SRP officials in February approved a new rate plan for any new customers installing solar under which they will pay a monthly "demand charge" based on their highest 30-minute average demand of power from the grid during peak hours.
 
The demand charges would average $80 a month for the average solar customer with a peak demand of about 8.5 kilowatts each month, according to SRP.
Read more...
 
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