[BREAKING] Corporation Commission staff recommends rejection of APS monopoly move into competitive rooftop solar market; Rose Law Group partner Court Rich says APS can’t have it both ways

Court RichBy Jeff Stanfield | SNL Energy

The Arizona Corporation Commission’s staff on Nov. 3 recommended that the commissioners reject Arizona Public Service Co.’s controversial request for approval of a program in which the utility wanted to install its own rooftop solar systems on 3,000 homes as part of its AZ Sun initiative.

The staff concluded that the Pinnacle West Capital Corp. subsidiary had not reasonably shown it needs to build an additional 20 MW to meet renewable portfolio requirements in accordance with a multiparty settlement in 2009. A staff memo and proposed order from Utilities Division Director Steven Olea also recommended that the commission reject APS’ alternative proposal to build a 20-MW utility-owned solar photovoltaic facility at its Redhawk Power Station.

Instead of either proposal for utility-owned distributed generation or a new solar facility at Redhawk, the staff recommended that APS present more information in its next renewable energy standard and tariff implementation plan due July 1, 2015, whether the utility will meet the settlement’s renewables requirements.

APS asserted that utility-owned resources often provide significant economic and noneconomic benefits for customers over the long-term and pose less overall risk than third-party owned systems.