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?tMajority of customer comments oppose APS solar proposals


Since Arizona Public Service Co. filed proposed changes to its existing net-metering policy July 12, more than 1,000 emails and phone calls have streamedninto the Arizona Corporation Commission from customers hoping to sway regulators. As of July 26, the majority were from solar customers and proponentsnof distributed generation urging the ACC to leave net metering untouched.n'APS is going to great lengths to convince you, our elected commissioners, that rooftop solar is a bad deal for Arizonans — but this couldn't be further fromnthe truth,' a stock email that was submitted by 130 customers says. 'This is a fight over whether we continue to overprotect big utilities who are loath tonallow competition into their industry, or allow customers to invest in cleaner, safer, and cheaper energy options.'nThe subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. has said current policy fails to hold residential solar customers financially responsible for services they usenand shifts millions of dollars in costs onto the utility's nonsolar customers. In an attempt to remedy the situation, APS said, regulators were presented twonalternatives. One would retain the net-metering construct, as well as retail-rate compensation for excess electricity, but charge future residential solarncustomers a demand fee that could run as high as $80 per month. The second alternative would implement a bill-credit system for future residential solarncustomers that would compensate them based on the one-year forward market price for electricity at the Palo Verde trading hub.n'The rooftop solar issue results from an exponentially growing group of customers that do not pay their fair share for the infrastructure costs necessary tonprovide them electric service,' APS Pricing Manager Charles Miessner testified in the utility's regulatory filing. 'In other words, a significant portion of thenbill that customers avoid by installing solar gets paid by non-solar customers.'nAPS' proposals include a 20-year grandfathering provision that would apply to current residential solar customers, and the company is quick to point out thatnit would use up-front cash incentives to counter the dampening effect the changes could have on Arizona's distributed solar industry.nBut current solar customers and advocates of distributed generation say the proposed changes amount to a money grab by an entrenched utility bent onnsquashing competition. One customer in an email to regulators wrote that the utility should have foreseen the eventual impact of its solar subsidies. 'Is APSnthat incompetent that it didn't do proper planning or is the greed showing?' the customer wrote.nAPS spokeswoman Jenna Shaver said the company is not surprised by the level of 'customer engagement' so far. Asked about the suggestion that thenutility should have anticipated what it says is now an $18 million annual cost shift onto nonsolar customers, Shaver said APS solar policies werenimplemented to jump-start the distributed solar industry in Arizona. The technology has made tremendous gains, she said — APS has said it signs up 500nnew residential solar customers every month — and it now is time to make adjustments to ensure long-term sustainability.nWhile the majority of comments have come from net-metering proponents who oppose APS' proposals, nearly 400 people submitted stock emails askingnregulators to correct a system that they say is unfair and unsustainable and particularly harmful to senior citizens. 'We know that solar customers createntheir own energy, but they still rely on the energy grid to ensure they have power whenever they need it,' the email says. 'When they don't pay for thatnservice, the rates we pay go up.'nAt least two customers said they were contacted by the group 60 Plus Association, which identifies itself as a nonpartisan senior advocacy group 'with anfree enterprise, less government, less taxes approach.' On July 9, the group released what it called 'a hard-hitting online ad campaign' that describes solarncompanies as dependent on 'corporate welfare for their financial bottom line,' 60 Plus Association Chairman Jim Martin said in a statement.nSupport for APS — or opposition to existing net-metering rules — was not limited to customers who filed stock submissions, though. 'Could we please stopnripping off the general public in favor of a very vocal and very misguided bunch of tree huggers?' one customer wrote to regulators. (No. E-01345A-13-n0248)......

【作者名称】: Michael Copley
【关 键 词】: ?tMajority of customer comments oppose APS solar proposals
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