APS proposes hearings with no grid access charge increase

September 25, 2015

Arizona Public Service today offered to forgo its request for an interim increase to the grid access charge but asked the Arizona Corporation Commission to move forward with “cost of service” hearings to ensure future electricity rates are fair to all customers and continue Arizona's leadership in solar power. (See ACC filing.)

If the ACC accepts the APS recommendation, the hearing would not result in any changes to electricity rates. Instead, it would establish the actual costs for APS to serve customers with rooftop solar and the actual amount those customers pay today for their continuing reliance on the grid.  

APS is asking for a decision in March 2016 so the results can be incorporated into its next rate case.  

Statement from APS on the filing:

Our original request essentially asked the ACC to implement a decision it made two years ago. It would have helped to address an inequity that virtually everyone agrees needs to be fixed, other than the small handful of rooftop solar leasing companies that profit from prolonging the problem. Our proposal would have benefited the vast majority of electricity customers while producing no additional profits for APS.   

Unfortunately, what should have been a relatively simple decision-making process has been turned into political theater by attacks and distortions from rooftop solar leasing companies that seek to paralyze Arizona regulators.

We hope our proposal will provide an alternative for the ACC to move forward with a much-needed discussion about how to update electricity pricing to reflect energy innovations like rooftop solar, battery storage and home energy management systems. 

The rooftop solar leasing companies don't want to have this discussion, especially not in a hearing where their representatives will be under oath. They will do anything to delay or change the subject. Take away their ability to engage in innuendo, personal attacks and bumper-sticker sloganeering and they have nothing left to offer.

They can only continue to profit from artificial subsidies as long as they can disrupt the regulatory process and prevent the ACC from considering the substance of rate design.  

Arizona's solar leadership is not sustainable without addressing the unfair cost shift, and waiting only increases the burden on average electricity customers. It is urgent we move forward now.  

These California-based solar leasing companies have no stake in Arizona beyond the money they can make leasing rooftop solar panels to homeowners, pocketing the tax credits, selling the leases to financial firms and moving on.  

APS has a responsibility to our customers to provide safe and reliable electricity, and we will continue to advocate for big-picture, sustainable solutions that continue Arizona's long-term solar leadership while protecting the interests of Arizona electricity customers.