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Arizona: Last call for solar?

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Opposition to the solar industry in Arizona by its largest privatized public utility company could effectively eliminate monetary incentives for homeowners that aren’t grandfathered in under current rates.

 

For the past three years, Arizona Public Service has fought relentlessly to either eliminate or reduce net-metering credits and incur additional costs on solar homeowners in the state.

 

This past July the company filed for a solar rate review with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), increasing new solar homeowner’s bill by an average of $133 and seeking to end net-metering.

 

What separates APS’s recent efforts from attempts in the past, is that it has positioned politicians into some of the five elected seats on the ACC.

 

The move, however, did not go unnoticed: State news outlets slammed the ACC for its allegedly shading dealings, bringing it under scrutiny from the FBI.

 

Still, if history is any indication, it’s that the APS is not one to back down. In 2013, the utility company was the first successful one in the United States to impose discriminatory charges on solar customers. Sources indicate that the APS’s current attack has a good chance of getting its desired legislation moved through the ACC, all current commissioners, of which, are Republicans.

 

If there is a bright side to this dark period Arizona solar homeowners are facing, it’s that the proposed bill would not be retroactive. This means that changes to the state’s net metering and additional rates would not go into effect until July 2017, giving solar homeowners and homeowners thinking of changing to solar the chance to be grandfathered in under the old benefits for 20 years.

Author: Harold Tan

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