SRP: We’re Lowering Our Prices

This just in from SRP. Their customers are receiving this email Monday morning:

We’re pleased to announce that SRP is temporarily lowering prices for the second time in less than a year. The 10-month reduction will be in effect for the January through October 2017 billing cycles.

The decrease will save the typical residential customer just under a dollar per month during the winter billing months and approximately $2.50 to $3.50 per month during the summer billing months. Prices will return to the original winter season prices with the November 2017 billing cycle.

We are able to lower prices for these reasons:

  • The continued low price of natural gas, which is a primary fuel in many power plants
  • Careful management, which is enabling us to meet our environmental program goals at lower-than-expected costs
  • Greater-than-anticipated energy sales

Sincerely,
SRP

Customers can then click on a link in the SRP email that takes them to the SRP newsroom where they can read details about the rate reduction:

SRP Board OKs $40 Million Price Decrease
Temporary Measure will Reduce Prices by an Average 1.6 % for next 10 Months

For the second time in less than a year, SRP’s Board of Directors has approved a decrease in electricity prices for its more than 1 million customers. The 10–month temporary decrease, effective with the January 2017 billing cycle, averages an overall 1.6 percent.

The decrease will save the typical residential customer just under a dollar per month during the winter billing months and around $2.50 to $3.50 per month when the summer billing season begins in May. Prices will return to original winter season prices approved in 2015 with the November 2017 billing cycle.

“Utility customers are generally more used to seeing price increases than decreases, so we are very happy to be able to lower our prices,” said SRP General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Mark Bonsall. “At SRP, our team works hard to identify market opportunities and cut costs where possible to keep our prices low, and this temporary decrease is reflective of our success in these areas.”

The temporary decrease is possible because SRP has been able to reduce expenses in two components of its electric prices.

One of the price components – the Environmental Programs Cost Adjustment Factor, or EPCAF – tracks costs and revenues related to SRP’s renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs adopted to comply with SRP’s sustainable portfolio standard. The temporary reduction reflects SRP’s ability to meet its sustainable goals at a lower cost to customers.

SRP’s Board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is ahead of schedule –providing more than 14 percent of retail energy needs with sustainable resources, which include solar, wind and geothermal energy, hydro power and energy-efficiency programs. SRP currently has 746 megawatts of renewable energy owned or under contract in its system.

The second component – the Fuel and Purchased Power Adjustment Mechanism, or FPPAM – recovers fuel costs incurred to generate electricity as well as power purchases to serve customer needs. Savings in this area are primarily because of lower-than-anticipated natural gas costs.

The costs of these two components to SRP are directly passed through to customers without any markup. SRP previously instituted a temporary reduction of 3.7 percent in the EPCAF and FPPAM for the 2016 July and August billing cycles.

The latest temporary reduction will decrease EPCAF and FPPAM revenue collection by about $40 million.

SRP is a community–based, not–for–profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre–feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.

Andy Tobin Advances In The Race For Arizona Corporation Commission

Andy Tobin

Phoenix, AZ – Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin has advanced to the General Election in the race for the Arizona Corporation Commission. Tobin, the former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to fill a vacancy on the Commission. In early results, Tobin received strong support in Arizona’s rural counties and finished near the top in Maricopa and Pima Counties.

“I am beyond grateful to the people of Arizona who voted to nominate me as one of the Republican Party’s nominees for the Arizona Corporation Commission.Serving the voters and taxpayers of Arizona has been one of my life’s biggest and most important professional accomplishments. My purpose for serving on the Commission has always been straightforward: Protect Arizonans and grow an economy. Period. I want to ensure that all Arizonans have access to a reliable and affordable electrical grid, clean water and safe infrastructure. I want to continue the implementation of conservative reforms such as Governor Doug Ducey’s ‘Lean Government Initiative.’ I want to fight for our seniors who often are taken advantage of by unscrupulous financial planners.”

Andy Tobin

Andy Tobin

Commissioner Tobin continued: “After serving on the Commission for over 200 days, it is clear to me that there is still so much more work to be done here on behalf of Arizonans. This election is far from over. Special interest groups connected to Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are threatening to turn the Commission a deep shade of liberal blue. It seems like every week, a new burdensome, job-killing environmental regulation scuttles out of Washington.Let’s send a clear message at the polls this November: Arizona, especially our rural communities, cannot afford the federal government’s ‘wisdom,’and we must not stand for it either.  I ask for your vote for the Arizona Corporation Commission because I understand that the job of elected leaders is not to protect themselves or the government — it is to protect the taxpayers.”

Republican Candidates for Arizona Corporation Commission Debate on Horizon

Commissioner Bob Burns Wants APS To Control Your Thermostat

Commissioner Burns would like APS to have access into your home to be able to adjust your thermostat.  He’s up for re-election. Is this the representation you want?

Arizona Corporation Commission Clean Elections Debate – Monday, August 8, 2016

Solar Money Buying the Election for Bob Burns?

The past few years have seen an explosion of outside money to aid campaigns. Outside money is not new to politics and has been around since the dawn of democracy. What is new, however, is that much of it can be spent without knowing who is funding it. In the fights over election spending in Arizona, a lot has been made of outside money that the utilities may have given to aid Corporation Commission candidates. The Commission regulates utilities, so it seems to be a fair question. In the newspapers’ zeal to find out everybody’s sources except their own, (which they conveniently feel a 1st amendment right to do) they have launched some serious charges against local utility companies. What they haven’t done is given the same level of scrutiny to solar companies who have used outside money to aid pro-solar commission candidates.

Recently, Chris Mayes, Janet Napolitano’s spokeswoman and a Napolitano appointee to the Corporation Commission, has been leading efforts by solar companies to spend millions of dollars to aid the already largely subsidized solar industry. Voters should be wary when they see mail and hear calls from Mayes and solar dark money so that they don’t fall for the attacks on the current commission or commissioners. The current commission supports Arizona’s renewable energy mandate, which requires the utilities to use a mix of renewable energy already for distribution to Arizona homes. However that does not seem to be enough for the solar industry that wants to make profits off of government tax credits and federal dollars. Conservatives shouldn’t be deceived by claims made by solar alleging that those who want the market to decide the best energy sources are somehow anti-solar. Solar is already a part of the energy mix and will continue to be prevalent for quite some time. How much it should be subsidized by other rate payers is the real question before voters this November. Should a small percentage of solar users get tax credits and raise the cost for other energy users? Voters will weigh in August and November on these critical issues.

Tom Chabin & Bill Mundell – The Clone Candidates

Tom Chabin & Bill Mundell - The Clone Candidates

If you look at the websites of liberal Democrat candidates Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell you’ll see they’re practically clones. They both use header photos from Roosevelt Lake, including a photo of Roosevelt Dam; the language is identical with the exception of their names and the layouts are inverse. Not much creativity and not much diversity.

(Incidentally, Roosevelt Dam is operated by the Salt River Project (SRP) and is not under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Read why here.)

That’s what you’d end up getting on the Arizona Corporation Commission if these two green corporatists get elected in November.

Both campaigns are running exclusively on the message that Arizona Public Service is evil and bazillion dollar deals are taking place in smoky backrooms.

What they won’t tell you is that the leftist-controlled “green” corporations will be working behind the scenes to make these two Democrats carry their agenda.

And what is the agenda of these big green corporations? To keep the flow of ratepayer and taxpayer dollars to the solar industry and other heavily-subsidized green corporations.

These are the companies that have imploded or gone bankrupt like Solyndra, Abengoa and SunEdison.

Don’t be fooled by all the hyperbole rhetoric by Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin over “dark money.” They themselves will be the beneficiaries of dark money as Big Solar dumps millions of dollars into the Arizona Corporation Commission race to get them elected.

For Big Solar and the other green corporatists, it’s about getting votes on the Commission so they can ramrod policies through that hurt taxpayers, ratepayers and cost thousands of jobs.

This election, beware the clone candidates who will open the door wide to disastrous Obama green energy policies right here in Arizona.

 

 

Tom Chabin’s Dark Money Past

In the race for Arizona Corporation Commission, there are several candidates who aren’t who they say they are.

One candidate in particular, has made a major part of his campaign platform about running against “dark money.” You see it on his website, social media and in the media.

Tom Chabin Dark Money

Tom Chabin rails about dark money being spent by big power companies. We assume he’s referring to APS and their First Amendment participation in the election process.

What Tom Chabin doesn’t want you to know is that he was the direct beneficiary of  “dark money” during his failed state senate campaign in 2012.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s website, Chapin was the direct beneficiary of $204,531 from four independent expenditure groups.

Tom Chabin IE Money

America Votes is listed as a labor union organization based out of Washington, DC. On their website, they tout “building progressive power” and partnering with every radical leftist organization in America. During the 2012 election cycle, they spent $127,077 in Arizona to elect Democrat candidates. Chabin was one of those Democrats they attempted to elect. Fortunately, they failed.

Another organization that spent $145,774 to keep Tom Chabin in his $24,000/year legislative seat was the Arizona Accountability Project. On their campaign finance reports, they reported $475,000 funneled from an outside dark money group called Revive Arizona Now. They ended up spending $561,047 on Democrat candidates in 2012.

Chabin also was aided and abetted by two other independent expenditure committees. Citizens for Public Education spent $315 but Revitalize Arizona kicked in $44,318 in an effort to save his re-election. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Revitalize Arizona took in $744,328.47 from another group called Residents for Accountability which Tucson media reported, “that group’s finances are a bit of a Russian nesting doll.” Revitalize Arizona spent $44,318 to re-elect Tom Chabin in 2012.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Revitalize Arizona – “that group’s finances are a bit of a Russian nesting doll”[/pullquote]

Tom Chabin lost his bid for the Arizona State Senate in 2012.

Now Chabin is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission as part of a Democrat team with Bill Mundell.

Chabin and Mundell are running as “Clean Elections” candidates so they won’t be asking for private donations in their race. PAC’s and individuals will still donate and participate in the election under Arizona campaign finance limits. Independent expenditure committees will still attempt to affect the outcome of the race through express advocacy. And we expect non-profit organizations to air issue-ads to “educate” citizens about the issues.

Both Democrats have made it their mission to attack their opponents by alleging Republicans are part of a vast right-wing conspiracy with APS. (They’re not.)

Both Chabin and Mundell are pushing for Big Solar’s agenda. These solar companies, backed by big environmental leftists, want to retain and expand on their taxpayer subsidies. If elected, Chabin and Mundell will work to keep the taxpayer dollars flowing to these solar corporations.

Given the dismal history of bankruptcies and bailouts of big solar corporations like Solyndra, SunEdison and Abengoa, handing authority to Democrats like Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell would be a financial disaster to ratepayers and the energy market.

Tom Chabin

Expect Big Solar to strong-arm this race and spend big money to put their corporate cronies in place. Just don’t expect leftist-friendly media to shine any light on their dark spending or on Chabin’s dark money past.

 

‘Stormy Days’ Ahead for Rooftop Solar in Arizona?

Stormy Solar Panels

Arizona consumers of rooftop solar best prepare for cloudy financial times ahead if recent stormy news in the solar panel industry is any indication.

Missouri-based SunEdison is on the verge of financial collapse as it heads toward bankruptcy with $11 Billion of debt, a lawsuit by a subsidiary and an investigation by the fed.

SunRun and SolarCity are also sitting on the same bubble as they find their values halved since late last year and nervous investors losing confidence in the industry’s 20-year leasing approach for consumers.

Also adding to the volatility of the industry is a realization by local and state governments that subsidizing the industry is simply unsustainable bad public policy.

The rooftop solar industry should blame itself for its financial woes. It took on far too much rapid expansion and despite tremendous revenues, it is still facing losses. SunCity lost $769 million while Sunrun reported $28.2 million in losses. And 2016 is certain to continue that trend.

Now the industry is making efforts to cut costs in overhead, labor, advertising, etc. even as the cost of panels had dropped considerably. To come close to making a profit, these companies must continue to lock in new customers. And they must also continue to find favor with state and local governments by continuing subsidies, favorable rate policies and special construction/installation projects.

As traditional utility companies follow a more steady and stable growth model into renewable energy platforms, government regulators are becoming more wise and reluctant to choose winners and losers through policies like net metering. Instead, regulators are attempting to allow the market to adjust to normal conditions with the least negative impact to consumer pocketbooks.

With these policy changes and market adjustments, rooftop solar companies are finding that a good deal [for them] won’t last forever. Even as energy regulators make adjustments to allow the market to benefit all consumers, the rooftop solar industry has turned it into a political battle to keep their special arrangements in place.

This is the vicious cycle for rooftop solar: Cut costs while expanding the number of consumers in order to come close in making a profit – a strategy that is highly dependent on government favors and taxpayers and essentially a form of corporate welfare. As the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money [to spend].”

This brings us back to Arizona consumers of solar energy who will be the negatively affected if the rooftop solar bubble bursts. Who will maintain and warranty rooftop units if the company reneges on its contracts or worse, goes under?

That’s where the market appears to be headed and consumers better prepare for a rainy day.

There’s Nothing Conservative or Independent About the Current Rooftop Solar Industry

Rooftop solar is one of the greatest technologies one can invest in these days. The cost of the rooftop units are coming down; it allows individuals to move toward self-sustainability; It reduces our dependence on foreign oil; and it even allows individuals to go entirely off grid and operate independent of utility companies.

So why would I make a statement about rooftop solar not being conservative?

Don’t get me wrong. If I had the means, I’d take my entire home and business off the grid for the reasons I listed above.

It comes down to one word – Independence.

A few years ago, I jumped on the anti-utility bandwagon over net metering and the push to reduce the retail rate. I had to suspend common sense and all those years of economic education to make the argument. I didn’t have the whole picture and the mountains of research to back up that claim.

315344_AZHomesSolarPanelsThe rooftop solar industry is dependent on taxpayers – especially taxpayers who don’t have rooftop solar units installed on their rooftops. That’s consumers like me who cannot afford to lease a product and service that relies on subsidies from consumers like me. To clarify, rooftop solar is still too expensive that average consumers have to sign a lease over a long-term period in order to make it affordable.

[If you’re gonna invest in technology that gives you independence, pay cash. It really is a liberating experience not owing anyone money – including rooftop solar companies!]

The rooftop solar industry is also part of broader political agenda by those typically on the left and in environmental movement who seek to eliminate all non-renewable forms of energy production. This comes at a tremendous cost – especially to consumers.

Integral to this political agenda, policy makers and rooftop solar executives have created a climate in order to make an expensive industry appeal to average consumers. It comes down to manipulating the market and creating artificial incentives in order to attract more consumers to its product.

Imagine if the top executives of Mercedes, Jaguar and Rolls Royce sent their lobbyists to Washington to obtain taxpayer subsidies so they could attract you into a lease of one of their vehicles? You sign a lease to get into their car. They get a break through some tax loophole and the cost of taking care of our roadways is passed on to the individual who can only afford to drive a 10-year-old used car.

The reality is that many solar companies cannot even operate as a viable business without some form of government subsidy. It’s a clear example of corporate cronyism that puts taxpayers at risk or worse, leaves them footing the bill when the company goes bankrupt – as we’ve already seen several times.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The reality is that many solar companies cannot even operate as a viable business without some form of government subsidy.[/pullquote]

The rooftop solar has been benefiting from these market manipulations through the policy of net metering. They tell you that you can sell your solar-generated electricity back to the utility companies and pay less for your overall electricity. On a self-interest level, that’s great. But what they don’t tell you is that you’re selling back that electricity (actually, you’re receiving a credit) at an inflated rate and someone else is paying for it – a redistribution of utility costs.

Rooftop solar companies don’t own the grid and they don’t pay for the cost and maintenance of the grid. And because utility companies are paying above-market inflated rates, the cost of maintaining the grid is being shifted over to those without solar technology.

In effect, the rooftop solar industry has created a whole new level of dependency. They’ve made leasing consumers dependent on them. They’ve become dependent on net metering policy and utility companies have become dependent on non-solar customers. And when a solar company pulls its plant out of a state like what recently happened in Nevada, they leave a whole lot of people without jobs. There’s nothing sustainable about the overall climate and policy in which the rooftop solar industry operates.

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to afford solar technology without signing a long-term lease contract with the rooftop solar industry. We wouldn’t have to rely entirely on the grid and utility companies wouldn’t have to worry about covering the cost of maintenance in order to provide a reliable source of electricity.

To move toward that perfect world, we can start by eliminating the policies that pick and choose winners and losers through subsidizing and manipulating the energy marketplace.

That’s where real independence can begin and energy independence can thrive.

Guest Opinion: Demand-based rate strategy makes sense

Media coverage of the electricity rate case filed by UniSource Energy Services (UES) has promoted dire predictions from California-based rooftop solar leasing companies that oppose the proposal. We encourage every utility customer to consider the facts of the UES case.

UES has proposed residential rates that reflect both total energy use and peak energy use, or “demand.” This makes sense because utility costs are driven by the need to satisfy customers’ energy demands during peak periods. Arizona business owners have been paying demand-based rates for years and have found them to be fair, simple and easy to use. They include a basic service fee, a relatively low usage-based charge and a demand charge that’s based on their highest monthly power use.

Critics claim demand rates are “too confusing.” As smart thermostats and app technology grow ever smarter, this claim falls short. Demand rates give consumers a new way to save money by managing their use of electric appliances during peak usage periods. Smart technology can help customers take advantage of demand rates to lower their bills significantly. At the same time, reducing energy usage during peak times helps ensure the stability of the power grid statewide.

Because demand charges would be offset by lower energy use charges, most residential customers would see little impact from the proposed change. In fact, the UES proposal protects customers by reducing the generous subsidies handed to rooftop leasing companies at the expense of the 98 percent of consumers who don’t have solar. That’s why we’re hearing the loud voice of protest from the solar industry’s PR machine. UES’s proposal will create a sustainable free market for clean energy and send the right price signals to encourage future energy innovation. That’s important to every Arizona business. All of us want our state to stay at the forefront of the clean energy movement and to continue to create jobs in that growing sector.

Unfortunately, jobs have become a political pawn for the rooftop leasing companies. In Nevada, these companies fired their own workers and fled the state as punishment after policy changes took the brunt of subsidy payments off the backs of non-solar customers. They’ve threatened the same punitive behavior in our state. This “take our toys and go home” approach will hurt Arizona families and our economy. As reputable case studies and testimony explain in detail, rooftop leasing companies can continue to make ample profit under a demand rate structure should they elect to compromise, rather than litigate and flee to other states where generous profits are still to be had on the backs of non-solar customers.

Using employees’ paychecks as a bargaining chip is wrong. So is intentionally disrupting the businesses of local installers – the very people the California-based national giants once claimed they wanted to help.

Arizona needs an energy policy that encourages a broad array of technologies and the highest degree of freedom and fairness for all power users. The more control consumers have – absent subsidies paid by the vast majority of power users to fund technology for the few – the better off our state will be. To hear the rooftop solar leasing companies tell it, you would think the goal of energy policy should be whatever helps them sell the most systems at the largest profit.

We take a broader view. We sincerely hope the Arizona Corporation Commission will take that broader view as well.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Lea Marquez Peterson is the president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.