Current Utility News
Current News

AIC Briefs

Connect - December 23, 2014
Monday, 28 December 2014

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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SRP Revises Solar Rate Hike
SRP Revises Solar Rate Hike
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 7:01 a.m. MST February 20, 2015 -- Salt River Project managers made minor revisions Thursday to their solar rate-hike proposal that mostly will benefit people who own solar panels, not those who lease them.
 
SRP proposed a rate hike that will average 3.9 percent on all customers, but will particularly affect how those who added solar after Dec. 8 are billed.
 
Solar rate changes will add about $50 to the average solar customer's bill, mostly through a new charge based on their peak demand during the month, regardless of the amount of total energy they use.
 
SRP proposed the 15,000 people who already have solar would be "grandfathered," or keep their current rates, for a decade, then move to the new rates.
 
More than 500 customers showed up to a meeting earlier this month to protest the plan, and some of the elected directors who make decisions for the utility asked management for alternatives.
 
General Manager Mark Bonsall gave them an alternative Thursday. He suggested that the approximately 4,300 customers who already have bought solar panels in SRP territory, and who were paid an incentive by the utility for doing so, get to keep their current rate plan for either 10 years or 20 years from the date they installed the solar, whichever is longer. Most installations have occurred in the last 4-5 years, but a few installations were installed earlier.
Read more...
 
What if SRP Approves New Solar Rates
What if SRP Approves New Solar Rates?
The Republic | azcentral.com 7:36 a.m. MST February 17, 2015
What If: Will SRP's new fees help or hurt solar in the long run? A state official and solar activist weigh in.
Salt River Project will take a final vote Feb. 26 on a proposed rate hike for rooftop solar users.
 
We asked two experts: What if SRP approves the plan?
Read more...
 
B1465 Would Protect Public Against Questionable Tactics of Rooftop Solar Companies
B1465 Would Protect Public Against Questionable Tactics of Rooftop Solar Companies
By: Guest Opinion/azcapitoltimes.com  February 13, 2015 , 6:48 am
 
Lesko“We haven’t been able to sell our home for almost a year. The solar company told us the solar panels would increase the value of our home by $25,000. Instead the opposite has been true.   Our Realtor has shown our home 149 times, people really like it, but don’t want to take over the 20-year solar lease.  We have moved into independent living and we need the money from the sale of our home. Can you help us?”
 
This was the phone call I recently received from long-time constituents. A solar company talked them into leasing solar panels for 20 years, even though they are in their 80s.   They cannot break the lease and the buy-out option is not available until 2018.
 
My constituents are distraught over an issue that is getting more and more attention in Arizona and across the nation.  It is time that something is done.
 
A bipartisan group of Arizona and Texas congressmen, the AZ Corporation Commission and the AZ Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) have raised serious questions about the financing agreements and sales practices of some of the roof-top solar companies.  Some companies may be doing a good job, but others are not.
 
As a matter of common-sense and consumer protection it seems to me that a good starting point would be to ask the solar companies to provide complete and standardized disclosures in their leasing and financing agreements. This is what we require in statute from the insurance industry, motor vehicle dealers and mortgage lenders.
 
Consequently, I have authored and introduced legislation supported by Republicans and Democrats alike.  SB1465 does nothing more than require standard disclosures so that homeowners considering solar leasing or purchase will have more complete, understandable information before making a decision.
Read more...
 
SRP Considers Minor Changes to Proposed Solar Rate Hike
SRP Considers Minor Changes to Proposed Solar Rate Hike
Ryan Randazzo, The Republic | azcentral.com 4:52 p.m. MST February 12, 2015 -- Salt River Project officials will consider options to the utility's proposed rate hike on existing solar customers before taking a final vote Feb. 26, but have little issue with proposed fees on new solar users.
 
SRP in December proposed a rate hike that will add about $50 to the monthly bills of customers who have added solar since Dec. 8.
 
The proposal also calls for the approximately 15,000 SRP customers who already have solar to be "grandfathered," or keep their current rate structure for a decade, then shift to the new rates, and to implement the higher rates if their home is sold.
 
SRP managers present such proposals to an elected board of directors who make the final vote. Those directors on Thursday seemed comfortable with the overall rate hike, but not with the way it will affect existing solar customers.
 
"I have concerns and feel we should look seriously at the grandfathering provisions," said board member Deborah Hendrickson, who represents the Chandler area.
Read more...
 
Companies Want to Link AZ, Mexico Power Grids
Companies Want to Link AZ, Mexico Power Grids
Nogales ProjectPosted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 7:52 am | Updated: 3:33 pm, Tue Feb 10, 2015/By Curt Prendergast, Nogales International -- In what would be a first for Santa Cruz County, two utility companies are proposing to build a $60-million system to connect the area’s electricity grid with northern Mexico.
 
UniSource Energy Services says the project would make the local power grid more reliable and could lower prices for consumers. For Hunt Power, a Dallas-based utility infrastructure firm, the new system would act as a toll road and generate revenue from providers that ship electricity back and forth across the border.
 
The project involves building a 138-kilovolt transmission line from the Valencia substation near the Walmart store in Nogales to a new 10-15 acre gateway substation to the west of Interstate 19 and north of Mariposa Road, according to information provided at two public meetings last week.
 
From the gateway station, a 230-kilovolt transmission line would run south along the city’s limit with the Coronado National Forest to the U.S.-Mexico border, where it would connect to the Mexican power grid on the west side of Nogales, Sonora.
 
If the extensive permitting process is successful, which includes a presidential permit to cross the international border and a conditional use permit from the City of Nogales, the transmission line would be up and running in 2018, said Arlo Corwin, project manager for Hunt Power.
 
“The project is first and foremost a reliability project,” Corwin said at a public meeting in Nogales last Thursday evening, noting the city is located “at the end of the U.S. grid.”
 
The 150-megawatt direct current interconnection, known as a “DC tie,” would link Nogales’ power grid to the Comision Federal de Electricidad grid in Sonora to create a “loop” that provides a redundant source of power.
 
“It works both ways. It can provide emergency response to either north of the border or south of the border,” Corwin said.
 
In the case of an outage in Mexico, UniSource could use the converter station to “jumpstart” its system, he said. If Nogales has power problems, “we can pull power back from Mexico to start this side of the system.”
 
Two transmission lines connect San Luis, Ariz. and San Luis, Sonora, with one used for emergencies and the other supplying power to four industrial customers south of the border, according to a 2013 white paper from the Arizona Mexico Commission.
 
The emergency line supplied San Luis, Sonora with power for 22.5 hours following a 2010 earthquake in Baja California.
Read more...
 
SRP Goes Beyond Eliminating the Solar Subsidy
SRP Goes Beyond Eliminating the Solar Subsidy
Robert Robb, The Republic | azcentral.com 3:44 p.m. MST February 10, 2015 -- The residential rooftop solar industry in Arizona isn't making much of an attempt to justify the subsidy it gets in utility rate designs. Then again, there's not much of an argument to be made.
 
Instead, the industry is conducting political attack campaigns against its perceived opponents, the incumbent utilities, disparaging their character and trying to damage their reputations.
 
There was some modicum of strategic sense to this when it came to Arizona Public Service, although it was puerilely executed. The decision was going to be made by the elected politicians on the Arizona Corporation Commission. If the rooftop solar industry could make APS politically toxic, the commission might protect its subsidy. Don't think it had much of an effect, but in theory it might have.
 
In the case of Salt River Project, however, it would seem guaranteed to backfire. SRP is self-governing. The industry is attacking the people who are going to be making the decision. And, although they are nominally elected in a vote weighted by land ownership, the SRP board isn't composed of politicians.
Read more...
 
Hundreds Crowd Tempe SRP Meeting, Protest Increases
Hundreds Crowd Tempe SRP Meeting, Protest Increases

SRP Solar

Brahm Resnik, 12 News 5:15 p.m. MST February 9, 2015 -- An overflow crowd of 500 people poured into an SRP meeting hall Monday morning in Tempe, the overwhelming majority of them protesting the utility's plan to jack up costs for solar customers.
 
SRP also plans to raise rates about 4 percent for the typical residential electric customer.
 
Monday's hearing in Tempe is the second-to-last meeting before the utility board votes on the rate increases Feb. 26.
 
SRP says it has to recover from solar customers the roughly $50 per month cost of serving them on the electric grid.
 
Solar customers say the plan would sharply decrease their monthly savings on electricity. They also accuse SRP of rewriting solar rules in a way that makes their homes less valuable in resale.
 
The debate is similar to the "net-metering" controversy involving APS at the Arizona Corporation Commission two years ago. The commission allowed APS to impose a $5 monthly fee on solar customers.
 
As a quasi-public municipal utility, SRP is not regulated by the commission.
 
 
Arizona's Stealth Solar Owners Admit Fraud
Arizona's Stealth Solar Owners Admit Fraud
Robert AnglenThe Republic• azcentral.com 10:22 a.m. MST February 9, 2015 -- Owners of a Phoenix solar company that promised customers new energy systems wouldn't cost them "one cent" and would save "tons of money" have agreed to pay thousands in fines to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit.
 
Stealth Solar owners Fred and Sandra Richie acknowledged the company illegally advertised services through deceptive telemarketing, bogus mailers, untrue promises of savings and government subsidies.
 
The Richies will pay up to $92,000 in restitution to customers they deceived and $20,000 in attorney's fees as part of a consent agreement with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. They also face $160,000 in civil penalties if they fail to make restitution to customers.
 
The attorney general sued Stealth in 2014 after receiving 50 consumer complaints against the company. Customers not only said they didn't save money, some saw utility rates rise due to the cost of equipment.
 
"We thank those customers who came forward to voice their concerns about this company," Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement last week. "Our attorneys want to know about false advertising. With that information we can hold companies accountable for deceiving consumers."
 
Brnovich took office in January.
Read more...
 
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