APS withdraws controversial solar grid fee request
- Arizona Public Service filed a request last Friday to withdraw its its proposed $21 grid access fee if the state's utility regulators continue hearings on cost-of-service analysis for distributed solar.
- APS's move follows complaints from two former commissioners and solar advocates earlier this month that alleged bias against rooftop solar from three sitting commissioners on the Arizona Corporation Commission.
- In its filing, APS criticized The Alliance For Solar Choice (TASC) and other solar advocates for their latest "aggressive display of political gamemanship" aimed at discrediting the elected commissioners.
- APS said its request to withdraw its "motion to reset" the grid access fee hinges on part over the commission's ability to "promptly schedule" hearings to investigate the value of distributed solar in time for its 2016 rate case.
In a surprising move, Arizona Public Service has offered to withdraw its request for a proposed $21 grid access fee, but not without a severe reprimand to solar advocates for what it says is the latest display of "political gamemanship."
The withdrawl offer hinges on the ACC's willingness to move ahead with hearings that investigate the value of distributed solar on the grid, including cost-of-service analysis. In April, the utility filed a request to place a $21 proposed grid access fee charge on rooftop solar users, claiming such users don't pay their fair share to maintain the grid.
The amount adds up to about $3/kW, up from the $0.70/kW set in 2013. But the request has garnered fierce opposition from solar advocates who claim such a move is an aim to kill solar growth in the state. The debate heated up in commission's latest hearing, when the commissioners voted 3-2 to hold a hearing to evaluate the proposed grid access fee, instead of trying it in a rate case.
The move had ignored TASC's and the ACC staff's recommendation that the full cost-benefit of net metering and the precieved cost-shift be investigated in a full rate case. In response, Sunrun, a member of TASC, and two former commissioners filed complaints against three sitting commissioners alleging bias against the rooftop solar industry earlier this month.
Among the allegations was that two commissioners, Doug Little and Tom Forese, accepted $3.2 million in "dark money" from non-profits supposedly tied to APS. APS has neither confirmed or denied the allegations. Commissioner Bob Stump has been accused of bias based on negative remarks about rooftop solar made to media outlets.
In its filing, APS said TASC and other solar advocates have resorted to "procedural tactics and character attacks designed to discredit elected officials" rather than relying on a "substantive discussion"in a hearing. Their goal, APS says, is to "undermine" and "paralyze" the commission.
- Arizona Public Service Company Arizona Regulatory Filing
- Greentech Media APS Proposes to withdraw fee increase for solar customers
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