Tuesday, April 7, 2015

News: APS Uses Fuzzy Math To Push Solar Tax

APS Uses Twisted Stats To Sell Solar Fee
Utility Execs Break Promise To Wait Until The Next Rate Case

(PHOENIX) APS is asking the Arizona Corporation Commission for another tax on solar power, and it’s using deceptive numbers to sway the media and Corporation Commissioners.
The tax on rooftop solar customers would be about $20 a month.
To justify this solar tax, APS is falsely claiming the rooftop solar industry in Arizona grew in 2014. It actually saw a 10% decrease in business in APS service territory.

APS cited 2014 installation numbers to incorrectly claim that the rooftop solar industry has not been impacted by the imposition of a $5 a month solar tax starting January 2014.

What APS failed to mention is that those installation numbers are irrelevant because many of those installations reflect sales in 2013, BEFORE the solar tax went into effect.
The only relevant indicator of the health of the solar industry is solar applications after the solar fee went into effect in January 2014. Since that time, solar applications are down by 10%, while solar is growing at a high rate in nearly every other state.
In SRP territory, applications decreased 96% after the implementation of new solar charges.
Meanwhile, APS executives seem to be breaking prior promises to wait until the next rate case (scheduled for mid-2016) before making a solar tax hike request.
In the 2014 second quarter earnings call, CEO Don Brandt was asked, “When would that $5 tariff at least be revisited, just procedurally speaking?” Brandt responded, “if you do a rate design change or a change like that that would happen in the next rate case.”
Click here for the complete transcript.
During the 2014 fourth quarter earnings call Jeffrey Guldner, APS Senior Vice President For Public Policy said when referencing potential fees for rooftop solar customers, “We know a lot of that's going to happen in a rate case.” He also said, “...some rate design changes are going to have to happen in a rate case. It's helpful to have the discussion of what that process should look like and what some of the issues are ahead of the rate case filing.”
Click here for the complete transcript.
TUSK Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. said, “Arizona Public Service seems to have lost respect for its ratepayers, and the Corporation Commission itself. APS is entitled to make its own opinions on solar taxes, but the utility is not entitled to make its own facts.”
T.U.S.K. (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) was formed to stand for energy choice and rooftop solar savings. To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com

T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so they are doing everything they can to stop the spread of independent solar.