Arizona pushes back hard on net metering
By: SGN Staff
Quick Take:As you know, many industry observers believe net metering is the enemy of the investor-owned utility because it allows rooftop solar owners to get the benefits of a grid connection without paying the associated costs. In essence, customers without solar subsidize those that have it.
But that's not how the issue is presented by the environmental community, as documented in a a recent article at SustainableBusiness.com. It discusses efforts by Arizona Public Service (APS) to adjust net metering payments to end the subsidies. But in the article, it is presented as an "attack on solar power."
In the last decade, we saw what happened when utilities ignored or minimized the smart meter backlash. Fair warning - net metering may be just as problematic. If you are not messaging your side of the story to your customers and regulators, you may soon come to regret it. - By Jesse Berst
Arizona Mulls Solar 'Tax'
The future of net metering in Arizona is under attack, with the state's largest electric utility Arizona Public Service (APS) proposing changes that undermine cost benefits for residential solar installations.
Under a plan submitted in July with the Arizona Corporation Commission, the state's public utility commission, APS proposes two options for future residential solar customers - both of which will reduce possible returns that homeowners might receive on their investment.
One alternative would model net-metering contracts much the same as today but require residential customers to pay a monthly fee for power sent back to the grid. APS positions this as a convenience charge. The other option would allow homeowners a small ongoing bill reduction, based on the market rates that APS pays to other power generators.
Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.
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