February 7, 2022
Arizona House of Representatives
Arizona State Capitol Complex
1700 W Washington St
Phoenix, AZ 85007
RE: HB 2101 - Opposed
The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) is a nonprofit trade association representing the solar and storage industry in Arizona. We focus on educating the public and key decision makers about solar, storage, and energy efficiency. We also advocate on behalf of policies that create opportunities to advance our economy through these technologies.
AriSEIA respectfully asks you to vote no on HB 2101. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a landmark decision regarding rooftop solar. Ellis v. Salt River Project (SRP) was decided on Monday, January 31, 2022 and a copy of the decision can be found here. The case is a class action lawsuit against SRP for its treatment of rooftop solar customers. In 2014, SRP announced its E-27 rate plan, which increased costs for rooftop solar customers by 65% and resulted in a decrease of rooftop solar applications by 50-96% (pg. 7).
The Court found that SRP was subject to federal antitrust laws for its treatment of rooftop solar customers. SRP asserted two defenses, one of which is applicable here. SRP said that the “state action immunity doctrine” protected it from liability (pg. 25). However, relying on ARS 40-202(D), 30-803(A), 30-805(E), 30-803(F), 30-802(B)(1)(a), 30-805(D), and 30-813, the Court found that "the State of Arizona has not articulated a 'policy to displace competition.'" In fact, the State of Arizona has demonstrated a policy in favor of competition (pg. 26). Even though the Arizona Corporation Commission has not acted on those statutes, the Court reasoned that the statutes demonstrate the favored policy of the state. "Even if '[t]he sort of competition [Arizona law] envisions has yet to emerge on the scale the legislature hoped,’ Arizona has clearly 'expresse[d] a policy preference for competition in electricity generation and supply,'" (pg. 27).
Should HB 2101 become law, the statutes that the 9th Circuit relied on to rule in favor of rooftop solar customers would be eradicated and the outcome of the case would very likely be different. Rooftop solar is not a partisan issue. Rooftop solar customers come from all walks of life. Some customers adopt rooftop solar because they want to utilize clean energy. Others do it because they value resiliency and self-reliance and want their homes and families to be independent from the grid. Still others do it to save money on their monthly electric bills. No matter why you might favor rooftop solar, it is a choice that each family should get to make for themselves, and the utilities should not be able to put their thumbs on the scale to make it so burdensome to adopt that families are prevented from making the decision.
Arizona also has abundant sun and many of the businesses in this industry are local, small businesses. Please vote no on HB 2101 if you support rooftop solar or support individual families being able to decide for themselves if it is something they value and want to adopt or support the small businesses giving them that choice.
Autumn T. Johnson, JD, MBA
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