On November 2, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted its final approval to eliminate Arizona Public Service (APS) company’s “grid access charge,” ending a decade-old unfair practice of charging residential solar customers a discriminatory fee. The grid access fee, averaged about $100 per year per solar customer. The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) argued that the fee unfairly targeted solar customers under the pretense that it cost more to provide them with electricity costs.
AriSEIA and SEIA testified against the charges demonstrating that solar customers paid their fair share of grid costs compared to non-solar customers.
“This is an issue of a charge that tens of thousands of customers are paying,” said lawyer Court Rich, representing AriSEIA and SEIA. “It’s a charge that the commission has absolutely no way of knowing if it should be charged or at what level it should be charged at. It is about as egregious of a rate-making device as you could have.”
“I appreciate the partnership between AriSEIA and SEIA to participate in this rate case” said Sara Birmingham, Senior Director at SEIA and AriSEIA Board member. “Arizona got rid of an unjustified and outdated charge that has been a drag on the Arizona solar economy. This change will more fairly recognize the benefits of local solar adoption and we hope we can expand solar accessibility to even more Arizonans.”
In addition to the grid access charge, positive outcomes were achieved in revising the rules for adopting energy storage systems. The Commission made revisions to both the large customer storage rate (E-32 L), and residential (R-Tech) program to make them more user friendly for Arizona businesses and residents to install energy storage systems, as well as system sizing rules.
A large congratulations is in order to the Arizona Corporation Commission for its bipartisan resolution of APS’ rate case. And a huge thank you to our Vice President of the Board – Court Rich for all his efforts in representing AriSEIA and SEIA before the commission and successful achievement of a long list of victories for rooftop solar and distributed battery storage in this case.
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