Salt River Project Raises Rates on Solar Consumers

You’ve heard the saying: No good deed goes unpunished.  This adage may very well serve as the perfect slogan for the energy conscious citizens of Arizona.  In general, utility companies   can be extremely greedy… some, more than others.   Presently, those in the state of Arizona are leading the pack.

Example: Salt River Project (SRP), the utility company serving Phoenix, has announced its latest rates.  Obviously, they’ve decided it to stick-it to the energy-conserving solar consumer via a rate hike averaging approximately $600. per year.  Why?  Greediness would be our guess.

According to various reports, the rate increase has three components:

  1. Because some solar homes solar homes sometimes produce more power than they actually use, utility companies must buy the excess power. In return, homeowners are paid via credits on their bills. Big deal, on occasion, a solar customer makes a few bucks…$0.10 per kilowatt hour.  Unfortunately, SRP has decided that’s way too much money.  So they plan to reduce the reimbursement to $0.04 per kilowatt hour. Think about it. $0.04 per kilowatt hour is less than the utility will be paying to generate solar power.  This decision will result in a significant increase in the charges to solar clients.
  2. In addition to decreasing the price they will pay for excess solar power, SRP is planning to raise the flat fee it charges to gain access to the solar grid.
  3. Finally, the demand surcharge increase. This is a maximum draw surcharge calculated according to each individual user’s peak demand.

In a sad attempt to suggest they care, SRP has made recommendations to “help” solar clients make wise, cost-efficient decisions.  What a joke…here’s one particularly stupid proposal: install solar panels so that they face west to facilitate maximum energy generation during peak times.  Does SRP think solar customers and solar panel installers don’t already know this?  If we’re smart enough to take advantage of solar power, don’t you think we’d also know the most efficient way to do so?  Besides, what if a solar-powered home doesn’t face east-west? Shall the homeowners dig-up the house to resituate it or just build a new one?

Sadly SRP isn’t alone in their thought process. As more people become aware of the positive impact of solar on the health of the planet as well as renewable energy’s cost-efficiency the growth of solar will continue. In addition, that growth will be further fueled as the prices of solar installations continue to decline. So, we should expect utilities to try to recoup their losses any way they can and unfortunately, many elected officials will be more than happy to assist them.

Those of us who are genuinely concerned about the environment need to be prepared to deal with the challenges we are guaranteed to face at the hands of deep-pocketed utilities. Working together we can make a difference.  If we want to leave future generations a cleaner, greener planet we have no choice but to ready ourselves for the inevitable battle.  But remember, it’s a battle we can win but even the deepest pockets are no match for the indomitable spirit.

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