Arizona Commission Approves Net Metering Fee

The Arizona Corporation Commission modified the state’s net metering plan in a move that will costs solar customers a little money every month, but not nearly as much as Arizona Public Service Co. wanted.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to charge solar customers 70 cents per kilowatt of installed solar on their homes every month to help defray some costs non-solar customers. That means a house with a 5-kilowatt system would pay $3.50 per month on their bill.

The move had both sides declaring a win.

“The Arizona Corporation Commission has taken an important step in reforming the state’s net metering policy,” said Don Brandt, APS chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. “The ACC determined that net metering creates a cost shift. We applaud the ACC for cutting through the rhetoric and focusing on how the cost shift impacts non-solar customers.”

APS had prepared two plans that could have cost solar customers 30 to 50 percent of the savings they made off having a solar system.

Solar advocate declared victory as well, saying the changes were small enough that it wouldn’t hamper the growing installation industry.

It also likely ends, at least for now, a bruising campaign-style battle that pitted the utility industry against the solar industry.

“While APS and its national trade association (Edison Electric Institute) spent many millions attacking rooftop solar, the Arizona Corporation Commission made no changes to net metering,” said Barry Goldwater Jr., chairman of Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed. “The utilities and EEI showed just how far they are willing to go at any cost, and that is the legacy of the Arizona net metering battle–a major loss for APS and its allies.”

APS spent about $3.7 million on ad campaigns around net metering. The solar industry spent about one-tenth that.

 

Source: Phoenix Business Journal

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