Court Rich, co-chair Rose Law Group Renewable Energy Department, Jason Rose, spokesman for TUSK, explain net metering dispute
The current fight over solar power in Arizona is taking on epic proportions as attack ads pop up, accusations fly, and unlikely alliances form. The outcome of the battle between Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), the state’s largest electric utility, and the private solar industry could influence the development of solar both in the state and the country.
The controversy boiled over last week when APS submitted a new pricing plan proposal for solar power customers to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), the state’s utility commission. Critics fear the new plan will destroy Arizona’s blossoming solar power industry and cost thousands of jobs.
Known as “net metering,” in most states with significant or growing solar power use, large utilities are required to buy unused solar energy from residential customers and send it through the grid to non-solar customers. Additionally, in states like Arizona, utilities are required to pay a retail price for excess residential solar power, as opposed to the lower rate paid to industrial providers.
The new plan proposed by APS would give residential solar customers two options: “net metering” or “bill credit.” Under the new net metering option, customers would continue to be compensated at current rates, but would have to pay an extra charge for their use of the power grid. This would amount to an extra charge of $50 to $100 per month.