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

Connect - November 7, 2014
Wednesday, 12 November 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 Motion to Intervene in Fortis Acquisition of UNS Energy
Wednesday, 12 March 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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Who Pays for Energy Efficiency? You Do
Who Pays for Energy Efficiency? You Do 
Gary Pierce
Gary Pierce, AZ I See It/azcentral.com  4:53 p.m. MST December 9, 2014
Corporation Commissioner: We're looking at rule changes because we want to restore equity and balance.
In 2010, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved rules requiring electric utilities to reach 22 percent energy efficiency by 2020. To date, $371 million has been collected from Arizona ratepayers to fund this requirement. Now is the time to take a step back and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the rules and ensure they are truly creating a cost savings and benefit for ratepayers.
 
A number of articles and editorials have been printed in the past few weeks that leave the reader with the impression that if a proposal before the Corporation Commission is approved, the energy efficiency programs offered in Arizona would go away.
 
Let me be clear, energy efficiency programs in Arizona are not going away. The commission recognizes energy efficiency as the least-costly energy resource for our ratepayers. And our primary responsibility is to look out for the best interests of Arizona's ratepayers.
Read more...
 
Sierra Club to APS: Shut Coal Plant Now
Sierra Club to APS: Shut Coal Plant Now
Coal PlantRyan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 7:41 p.m. MST December 3, 2014 - About two dozen protesters, along with an inflatable replica of a coal plant, waged a demonstration against Arizona Public Service Co. on Wednesday to encourage the utility to shut its Cholla Power Plant in northern Arizona.
 
The protesters said they would like APS to use more renewable power sources, such as solar, instead of the coal-fired plant.
 
"APS wants to keep us tied to a dirty coal-fired power plant for at least another decade," said Will Greene, a Sierra Club representative who led the protesters in a march to APS headquarters to deliver petitions favoring the plant's closure.
 
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency notified the utility that Cholla's No. 2 unit would need new pollution controls to limit mercury, and in 2012, it proposed additional pollution controls on the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 units to limit nitrogen-oxide emissions that contribute to haze.
 
In response, APS recently announced plans to close Unit 2 in 2016 and stop burning coal at two others in 2025. But that isn't soon enough for the Sierra Club.
Read more...
 
SRP Has a Better Solar-Fee Idea
 SRP Has a Better Solar-Fee Idea
Our View: At first blush, SRP's proposal looks similar to APS's ill-fated net-metering idea. But it's much more responsible.
Editorial board, The Republic | azcentral.com 5:30 p.m. MST December 2, 2014 -- All around the country — scratch that — all around the world, traditional utility companies face financial challenges in a fast-changing energy world.
 
Their competition? As always when industries evolve, it is the emergence of a new competitor.
 
But for utilities, it is not the emergence of one or two new competitors, but thousands of them.
 
With rooftop-solar arrays proliferating, especially in Sun Belt states like Arizona, traditional utility companies face a bleak financial future without making serious changes to their pricing structure.
 
Utilities buy back unused rooftop-solar power and distribute it to other customers. In a world in which a handful of rooftop-solar owners sold back their power, the utility's costs were negligible.
 
But as rooftop continues to grow in popularity, utilities say those customers are not bearing their fair share of maintaining the grid that provides them power when the sun goes down.
 
A University of California study released this fall predicts the typical Southwestern utility company will start losing revenue seriously once about 2.5 percent of its customers have gone solar. In sunny Arizona, that day is fast approaching.
 
As a result, the Valley's two biggest utilities, Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project, proposed rate increases on homeowners with rooftop-solar arrays.
Read more...
 
SRP's Proposed Rate Hike Targets New Rooftop-Solar Customers
SRP's Proposed Rate Hike Targets New Rooftop-Solar Customers
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 10:45 p.m. MST December 1, 2014 -- Salt River Project customers who want to add solar to their homes could be hit with $50 a month in new fees as part of a rate-hike plan.
 
The proposal also would raise the average bill for non-solar customers by about $5.
 
The new solar fees are an attempt to charge for the cost of maintaining the power grid, even from those who generate much of their own electricity.
 
SRP SolarThe proposal mirrors a failed attempt by Arizona Public Service Co. last year to add $50 to $100 in fees on rooftop-solar customers. In that case, state regulators eventually decided on a fee averaging about $5.
 
SRP is a municipal utility and will not need regulatory approval, as APS does, to put the fees in place.
 
"We believe this reflects the cost of service to those customers," said Robert Taylor, senior director of regulatory policy. "If they can lower their (electricity) demand, they can reduce their costs."
 
The more than 12,000 SRP customers who already have solar, along with those who are in the process of signing a contract before Monday, will remain under the old rate schedule for the next decade, officials said.
 
SRP officials didn't want to penalize customers in the process of installing solar but didn't want a rush of customers trying to get solar before the billing changes.
 
"We are concerned there could be quite a push," pricing-design manager John Tucker said.
 
He said SRP will be reaching out to officials in the solar industry soon to discuss the proposal.
 
Some solar-industry advocates were surprised to learn SRP was seeking such broad changes.
 
"SRP might as well simply outlaw solar within its service territory if it is going to hit people with a $50 to $100 charge for their right to use the sun," said Court Rich, attorney for the Alliance for Solar Choice.
Read more...
 
What's Wrong With a Second Look at Solar Leases?
What's Wrong With a Second Look at Solar Leases?

Editorial board, The Republic | azcentral.com 6:09 p.m. MST November 29, 2014

Our View: Long-term leases are complex. Why shouldn't a consumer-protection agency ensure that homeowners are getting a good deal?Conscientious homeowners — and there are many in Arizona — seem to like rooftop solar systems. They want to do the right environmental thing.
 
But they also want their substantial investments to pencil out financially. And that is no longer a simple equation.
 
With the vast majority of rooftop systems now being leased, rather than sold — most of them through a single company, SolarCity of California — it seems reasonable to ask whether those leases really do pencil out.
 
Or at least it did to three Democratic members of the Arizona congressional delegation, who asked the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington to have a look at rooftop solar leases. In a letter, Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema and Ron Barber, as well as Rep. Gene Green of Texas, raised concerns about details that struck them as similar to what we saw during the subprime mortgage crisis:
 
"Customers are quoted savings each month on their utility bills. However, who calculates those estimations and are they accurate?"
Read more...
 
Energy Regulators Raise Questions About APS' Solar Pitch
Energy Regulators Raise Questions About APS’ Solar Pitch

APS Solar Cover

By: Luige del Puerto/azcapitoltimes.com  December 1, 2014 , 6:58 am -- At least two energy regulators are highly skeptical of a proposal by the state’s biggest utility to enter the rooftop solar market.
 
The Arizona Corporation Commission heard arguments for and against Arizona Public Service’s solar pitch on Nov. 13.  The meeting quickly turned into a debate between the utility and solar rooftop provider SolarCity, which argued that APS’ pitch is a costly endeavor with meandering goals.  APS replied that its benefits are real and quantifiable.
 
The hearing provided glimpses into what commissioners are thinking. It’s clear, for example, that Commissioner Gary Pierce sees some value in APS’ proposal and will likely vote to approve the utility’s solar pitch.
Read more...
 
Arizona Democrats Concerned Over Solar Leases
Arizona Democrats Concerned Over Solar Leases
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 3:49 p.m. MST November 25, 2014 -- Three Democrat U.S. Representatives from Arizona are warning that leased rooftop solar panels might not be a good investment for homeowners.
 
Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema and Ron Barber, along with Gene Green of Texas, sent a letter to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this month with concerns that leasing companies "may be overstating the economic benefits of signing a long-term solar lease while failing to disclose important information" when making sales pitches.
 
Solar leases are a popular option for homeowners who do not want to pay upfront for rooftop solar panels, and for nonprofits or government facilities that can't take advantage of federal tax credits when they install solar, as the leasing companies are able to capture those subsidies.
 
The leases commonly have terms of 20 years and require monthly payments. The tricky part for consumers is calculating whether those payments will be less than the amount of money they save by generating much of their own electricity with solar.
 
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by Congress in 2010 in response to the financial crisis.
 
The Congress members who crafted the letter to the bureau said that like the subprime mortgage crisis, the easy financial terms required for leasing solar panels could lead to trouble for consumers.
 
"Customers are quoted savings each month on their utility bills," they wrote. "However, who calculates those estimations and are they accurate?"
Read more...
 
Large Solar Plant to be Built in Florence, Produce Power for SRP
Large Solar Plant to be Built in Florence, Produce Power for SRP
By Jim Cross, Reporter/KTAR News  | November 24, 2014 @ 5:30 am -- Construction of a new Florence solar facility begins early next year, and by Christmas of 2015, the Sandstone Solar Power Plant should be pumping out electricity.
 
Salt River Project has a 21-year agreement for 45 megawatts of solar photovoltaic energy from the facility. SRP will purchase all of the solar energy produced at Sandstone.
 
SRP's Scott Harelson said the plant will be constructed and owned by Utah-based sPower. It will become the utility's largest solar facility.
 
"We have two other 20-megawatt facilities in Florence [Copper Crossing Solar Ranch] and Queen Creek [Queen Creek Solar Farm]. This one has more than double the output of those," he said.
 
Harelson said the price SRP will pay for energy from the Sandstone plant will eventually be lower than some of the company's traditional resources.
 
"One of the biggest challenges with renewable energy traditionally has been the price," he said. "They tend to be more expensive than fossil fuel sources, but the developer has come back to us with a price that is very competitive with our typical energy expenses, such as natural gas. It's still a bit higher, but if we project to the future, this facility could save us money in the long run. It's a very attractive community-scale solar project."
 
The Sandstone plant will be constructed on approximately 300 acres and will use more than 500,000 photovoltaic modules mounted on a tracking system that follows the sun to capture energy efficiently.
 
SRP Solar
 
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