TV commercial escalates fight over rooftop solar
- A new commercial from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade association that represents all U.S. investor-owned utilities, spotlights the brewing battle between electric utilities and the solar industry over net metering for rooftop solar systems.
- The commercial is playing on Arizona TV sets, where a heated net metering battle is taking place. The commercial also reportedly played during Sunday night's primetime NFL broadcast, according to Mike Taylor, research director at the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
The commercial comes at a tense time for utilities. Arguably the most severe threat to the traditional utility business model is the advent of rooftop solar systems, which could hypothetically relegate them to a backup power option. Meanwhile, solar advocates like The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) are becoming increasingly aggressive towards utilities as they smell blood in the water after many net metering fights across the country.
TASC recently confronted EEI on the very messy net metering battle in Arizona. Arizona Public Service (APS) was losing public support even before allegations surfaced that the utility secretly funded several anti-solar commercials and considered a strategy to subvert and manipulate the makeup of the state's regulatory commission. TASC co-Chair and Sunrun VP of Public Policy Bryan Miller asked EEI to "give a firm 'yes' or 'no' on their own use of dark money, and whether or not they endorse APS' tactics," according to a press release.