Arizona Corporation Commission
1200 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Re: Application of APS (Docket No. E-01345A-23-0110), TEP (Docket No. E-01933A-23-0108), and UNSE (Docket No. E-04204A-23-0109) for Approval of Revisions to Resource Comparison Proxy
Chairman and Commissioners,
The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) previously filed comments in the Arizona Public Service (APS) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) dockets in this matter on August 4th. That filing covered the history of the Resource Comparison Proxy (RCP), the dramatic increase to consumers for electricity, and the economic impact of high interest rates paired with a declining RCP rate on Arizona’s solar industry. We urge you not to decrease the RCP rate as proposed by Commissioner Myers’ Proposed Amendments No. 1 in each of the above referenced dockets.
This Commission has stated multiple times that it supports “regulatory certainty.” On January 3, 2017 the Commission issued Order 75859 in Docket No. E-00000J-14-0023, the Commission’s Investigation of the Value and Cost of Distributed Generation. That matter stemmed from a 2013 APS filing on net metering. It then created a generic docket, known as the value of solar docket, that commenced on January 27, 2014 and ran for nearly two years before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled. The evidentiary hearing ran for two months in the spring of 2016 with more than eighteen parties participating. A 4-1 decision of an entirely republican Commission was issued in January 2017, three years after the docket was opened. Commissioner Burns was the lone dissenter. Implementation of the specific RCP methodologies was then resolved in subsequent rate cases for each utility. Decision 75859 states,
There were also concerns raised in regard to the possibility of dramatic changes in the export rate and resulting uncertainty. However, to allow the export rate developed using this methodology to change gradually, it will be updated annually after it is initially set in a rate case proceeding or separate rate design phase. At the time that the initial DG export rate is set, a Plan of Administration that provides the mechanism for annual modifications to that initial rate also will be adopted. The annual updates accomplished between rate cases should be formulaic exercises where the Resource Comparison Proxy Methodology and the Avoided Cost Methodology established in the rate case is updated; however the reduction to the compensation rate under the RCP methodology shall not exceed ten percent per year.
Further, while the Commission outlined directions for calculating the RCP in Decision 75859, the Plan of Administration for each utility’s RCP rate requires the utility to submit an updated RCP calculation annually for Commission approval and specifies that the RCP “may not be reduced by more than 10% each year.” The table below highlights the proposed RCP stepdown as recommended by Commission Staff versus the Myers amendments.
These reductions run contrary to Decision 75859 and the Plans of Administration for each utility. As such, they do not adhere to the Commission’s own stated goal of “regulatory certainty” and also have not been noticed in accordance with A.R.S. 40-252. Regulatory certainty should apply to all matters before the Commission, not only select matters. Further, it is likely a due process violation to take an RCP methodology from a multi-year process and modify it in an Open Meeting with no testimony, witnesses, or evidence and only two days’ notice, which has the potential to result in litigation. Any deviation greater than 10% from the established RCP methodology should be determined in an evidentiary hearing.
AriSEIA’s previous filing highlighted the economic development importance of the solar industry to Arizona. There are more than 300 solar companies operating in Arizona. These companies employ more than 8,000 people in Arizona alone and have contributed $16.5 billion dollars to the state, with $1.5 billion invested just last year. Declines in the solar industry will have ripple effects throughout the economy impacting many other high quality, blue collar jobs, such as in energy efficiency, HVAC, roofing, windows, and insulation. There is no evidence to support Commissioner Myers’ assertion that decreasing the RCP rate by 37-56% will not have a catastrophic impact on an important industry in one of the sunniest states in the country. A table reflecting an increase in DG adoption despite a 10% stepdown in prior years does not mean that increases will continue in the future with a 10% stepdown and certainly not with a stepdown 3-4 times prior decreases. Further, there is no evidence in this docket that the RCP has not dampened growth of this important industry. Because installation rates continue to creep up in TEP and UNSE’s territories does not mean they are not impacted, it simply means the industry has not completely stagnated due to burdensome regulation. APS’ DG penetration is better than TEP and UNSE’s but is still only looking at 1% growth annually since the RCP framework was adopted.
Finally, AriSEIA does not agree that the RCP is a “subsidization.” The utilities pay for the power produced that benefits the grid. That power has a number of benefits that are different than utility scale solar. DG does not require new transmission; lengthy Line Siting and zoning proceedings; major land use implications that impact other industries, such as agriculture; or other major infrastructure improvements. The systems are entirely paid for by individual consumers. They are only compensated for the power they provide to the utility that benefits the entire grid, improves resiliency, and can be utilized with storage in demand response programs. If the Commission wishes to reevaluate the value of DG, an evidentiary hearing, not an open meeting, is the appropriate place to do so. Also, both the TEP and APS rate cases have also reflected numerous incidences of the utilities purchasing wholesale power above the RCP rate. Therefore, it is incorrect to assume that DG is somehow above the market rate for power.
AriSEIA opposes the Myers Amendments 1 and continues to advocate for an RCP stepdown less than 10%, which is permissible under Order 75859 and the Plans of Administration.
/s/ Autumn T. Johnson
 AriSEIA, Solar United Neighbors, and Vote Solar Joint Letter, Dockets E-01345A-23-0110 and E-01933A-23-0108, filed August 4, 2023, available here https://docket.images.azcc.gov/E000029205.pdf?i=1692739207146.
 Commissioner Myers Proposed Amendments 1, filed August 22, 2023, in Docket No. E-01933A-23-0108, available here https://docket.images.azcc.gov/E000029934.pdf; Docket No. E-01345A-23-0110, available here https://docket.images.azcc.gov/E000029933.pdf; and Docket No. E-04204A-23-0109, available here https://docket.images.azcc.gov/E000029935.pdf.
 Arizona Public Service, In the Matter of the Application of the APS for Approval of Net Metering Cost Shift Solution, Docket No. E-01345A-13-0248, available here https://edocket.azcc.gov/search/docket-search/item-detail/18039.
 Arizona Corporation Commission, Order 75859, Page 151, Line 24 through Page 152, Line 4 (emphasis added), Filed January 3, 2017, available here https://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000176114.pdf?i=1692725715837.
 See Appendix H, Arizona Corporation Commission, Decision No. 76295, (Aug. 18, 2017), https://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000182160.pdf?i=1657139837798 (emphasis added).
 Arizona Revised Statutes, 40-252, available here https://www.azleg.gov/ars/40/00252.htm.
 Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Arizona Solar Census, Q1 2023, available here https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2023-07/Arizona.pdf.
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