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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Arizona Regulators: APS to Ask for Higher Solar Fees
Arizona Regulators: APS to Ask for Higher Solar Fees
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 10:45 p.m. MST March 13, 2015
 
Arizona Public Service Co. is preparing a request for state utility regulators that will further increase monthly fees on solar customers, officials said Friday.
 
"We are expecting a filing," said Rebecca Wilder, spokeswoman for the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities.
 
APS would not confirm a filing is imminent, but APS officials have said they were watching closely as neighboring electric company Salt River Project raised rates on customers who installed solar after Dec. 8.
 
APS asked for rate changes in 2013 that would average $50 to $100 a month on solar customers to cover their use of the power grid, which would cut into or eliminate the savings of many solar customers.
 
After a lengthy series of hearings at the Arizona Corporation Commission, regulators approved fees that average $5 a month on solar customers. APS officials and two of the five commissioners at the time lamented those fees were too small.
Read more...
 
Lawsuit Against SRP Will Backfire
Lawsuit Against SRP Will Backfire
Editorial board, The Republic | azcentral.com 7:22 a.m. MST March 9, 2015
Our View: A lawsuit from SolarCity inadvertently makes the case that SRP and other utilities have against rooftop solar.
In laying out its case against Salt River Project for alleged violation of federal antitrust laws, solar-system manufacturer SolarCity effectively makes a big part of the case for SRP.
 
In its suit, filed in U.S. District Court, SolarCity contends that "(b)ecause solar customers are unable to completely disconnect from SRP's grid — they still need power in the evening hours and at other times when their energy demands exceed what their solar energy systems produce — they cannot escape SRP's penalty."
 
Put another way, those 15,000 SRP customers with solar arrays cannot escape reliance on the power grid. And as long as customers of SRP with solar arrays on their rooftops continue to rely on that grid, they should pay for the grid's maintenance.
 
That is not just SRP's position; it is the position of dozens of utility companies across the country dealing with the complexities of a still-growing rooftop-solar industry that remains far from self-sufficient.
 
SRP's planned assessment for customers with rooftop solar would average $50. As a baseline compared with grid-maintenance assessments around the country, that may appear high, but it is laden with incentives for solar customers to use their power production efficiently.
 
According to the rhetoric of SolarCity and its advocates, that constitutes anti-competitive behavior that effectively puts companies like SolarCity out of business.
 
But the incentives — especially those incentives tied to the customer's use of power during peak-demand times of the day — could reduce the fee to nearly half that amount.
 
That would bring it more in line with solar-customer fees in other states, including Wisconsin and New Mexico. Unsurprisingly, the solar-industry advocate Alliance for Solar Choice filed a similar lawsuit against Wisconsin utility We Energies in January.
Read more...
 
Report: Arizona Ranked High For Number of Renewable-Energy Jobs
Report: Arizona Ranked High For Number of Renewable-Energy JobsRanking
Thursday, March 5, 2015
By MIRANDA LEO 
 
WASHINGTON – Arizona had the fifth-highest number of clean-energy jobs posted in the nation in 2014, driven by strong numbers in the first half of the year, according to a report released Thursday.
 
The report by Environmental Entrepreneurs – which does not track actual hiring but the number of renewable-energy job announcements instead – said Arizona companies announced plans to hire 3,402 last year, out of nearly 47,000 nationwide.
 
“Arizona is always in the top of the stack with renewable jobs because we do have a diverse energy portfolio,” said Susan Bitter Smith, chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Read more...
 
IO Data Center Offers Renewable-Energy Program
IO Data Center Offers Renewable-Energy Program
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 6 p.m. MST March 5, 2015 --  Businesses can now opt to have their data stored in Phoenix on servers running on renewable energy, thanks to a new offering from IO.
 
The data-center services company is partnering with Arizona Public Service Co. so that companies can pay an incremental cost to use renewable energy when hosting their data with IO.
 
Data centers are one of the fastest growing large-scale energy consumers in the country. Arizona is an attractive location for the businesses because of its relatively low cost of electricity and low probability of natural disasters that could take a company's website offline.
 
Already, the IO data center in Phoenix employs energy-efficiency technologies to keep its servers running in a cost-effective manner. They include using low-cost power at night to make ice, which is used in the air-cooling system in the daytime, helping reduce peak energy demand.
 
"A number of our customers have renewable-energy goals," said Patrick Flynn, group leader of sustainability at IO. "Goldman Sachs, for example, has publicly stated a goal to be carbon- neutral by 2020. There are many others that have sustainability and renewable-energy targets publicly disclosed. What we are doing is trying to provide an opportunity for them."
Read more...
 
TEP Selects Three Local Companies to Install Rooftop Solar for New Program
TEPTEP Selects Three Local Companies to Install Rooftop Solar for New Program 
 
TUCSON, Ariz., March 4th, 2015 --(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has selected three Tucson-based solar companies to install and maintain residential rooftop solar systems for the TEP Residential Solar Program. 
 
The new program will allow TEP customers to go solar with no upfront installation or maintenance costs. TEP will install rooftop solar panels at participating customers’ homes and provide their electric service for a flat monthly rate that will remain fixed for up to 25 years according to guidelines approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). 
 
The systems will be installed and maintained for TEP by Custom Solar and Leisure, Solar Solution AZ, and Technicians for Sustainability. All three are working toward accreditation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, which sets high standards for experience and education in the solar industry. 
 
“These companies have a demonstrated track record of quality craftsmanship and customer service,” said Carmine Tilghman, a TEP Senior Director who oversees the company’s renewable energy programs. “Our partnership with these reputable local providers further extends TEP’s longtime support for our local green energy economy.” 
Read more...
 
SRP Approves Solar Fee and Rate Hike
SRP Approves Solar Fee and Rate Hike

SRP Solar

By: Rachel Leingang  February 26, 2015 , 4:19 pm/azcapitoltimes  -- Salt River Project’s board of directors approved a rate hike Thursday that would add a solar demand charge of about $50 on average and up to a 3.9 percent increase for all SRP users, ending a three-month process of public meetings and solar industry outcry.
 
The solar fee has drawn ire from solar companies and users in SRP territory, who say the added cost would kill the solar industry and render meaningless the cost savings solar users sought when they added panels to their roofs.
 
A rowdy crowd showed up Thursday to oppose SRP’s plan, regularly booing and questioning the utility company’s assertions that the plan won’t kill solar. Outside the meeting room, about 50 protesters gathered with signs comparing SRP’s president to Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons.” Protesters chanted “sol not coal,” “don’t rebate and switch” and “hey hey, ho ho, SRP has got to go.”
 
At the company’s private country club beside Papago Park in Tempe, dozens testified before the SRP board to oppose the rate, and the solar industry got about 30 minutes to present its case.
 
Solar advocates contend the board didn’t consider their concerns or give them enough time in public meetings to make presentations. The board never intended to budge in its proposal for solar, critics say.
 
“The fix has been in on this for a long period of time. … You still have to carry forward a fight, you have to carry forward why they’re wrong, you have to give it your best shot,” said Jason Rose, a consultant for the group Tell Utilities Solar Won’t be Killed.
 
SRP said the fee is necessary to bring revenues in line with costs of maintaining the electric grid. The board opted for a demand charge instead of a service fee, which would calculate the monthly cost for solar users based on a peak usage. That would incentivize solar customers to conserve, the utility said.
Read more...
 
Demand Charge Key to SRP Solar Rate Hike
Demand Charge Key to SRP Solar Rate Hike
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 9:42 p.m. MST February 25, 2015 -- Among several changes Salt River Project will vote on today is a "demand charge" for solar customers that will bill them based on their highest use during a 15- or 30-minute period during the month.
 
The demand charges would average about $80 a month for the average solar customer, who has a peak demand of about 8.5 kilowatts throughout the year, according to SRP. That charge could be lowered to $32 if a customer reduces peak demand to 4 kilowatts, but also could rise sharply if the demand goes higher. A 14-kilowatt peak brings a fee approaching $200 for the month, all before the costs of electricity and other services are included in the bill.
Read more...
 
SRP Customers, Stakeholders, Lament Solar Rate-Hike Process
SRP Customers, Stakeholders, Lament Solar Rate-Hike Process
SRP SolarRyan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 9:23 p.m. MST February 25, 2015 -- Salt River Project's elected officials will vote on a controversial solar rate hike Thursday, and the three-month proceeding has been a crash course in the utility's politics for many of those affected.
 
Most customers have little reason to engage the board of directors at the non-profit, public utility that is a political subdivision of the state. But that changed in early December for 15,000 SRP customers who have solar, and thousands more who want it, when they learned of the rate plan.
 
Since then many have learned it is difficult to determine who represents them on the publicly elected board of directors. Hundreds of thousands of SRP customers, in fact, have no representative because they live in areas excluded from voting rights, or because they don't own their property.
 
They can submit public comments to the 14 board members and president and vice president, but they don't elect those officials who will decide on the rate hike.
 
"When I bought my house, I made sure I was in SRP territory," Gilbert resident and solar customer Randy Miller said. "Everybody told me it was a great company, and when I put solar panels in, they gave me a lot of money. I have been a big supporter of them."
Read more...
 
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