Rate Impact for 1 Million Customers at Heart of Net Metering Issue

September 11, 2013

The so-called net metering debate is interesting because it has on one side supporters of solar power and on the other … supporters of solar power. So if everyone involved wants solar development to continue, what’s the discussion really about?

The answer: fairness.

That’s it, really. We’re asking that all customers pay their fair share for the costs of the electrical grid, so that non-solar customers don’t have to pay extra. (There’s no solar tax, no plan to kill solar. Just asking customers to pay for the service they receive.)

APS is asking to update a policy that, in its current form, will result in bill increases for the more than 1 million residential customers who do not have rooftop solar. That includes those who can least afford a hike, such as fixed-income seniors and low-income customers.

That’s why we’re looking at net metering. Under current rules, rooftop solar customers benefit from a reliable grid, but pay little to nothing for their use of it.

It’s simple – if you have something that costs $100 and 10 people are sharing the costs, they pay $10 each. If all of a sudden you have only 5 people sharing the costs, they now pay $20 each, even though all 10 continue to use it.

Solar customers still use the grid — 24 hours a day — to power their homes when the sun doesn’t shine, or when it’s so hot they need extra power to run their air conditioners, or even when they send back excess power.  Net metering results in fewer people sharing the actual costs of the grid. So those who are left to pay, all pay more.

Our proposal asks that, going forward, solar customers get compensation fairly for the solar power they produce and also pay their fair share for the continued use of the grid.