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.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorses Andy Tobin for Congress

Andy Tobin

 

May 1, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorses Andy Tobin for Congress

World’s Largest Business Federation Pledges Support for Tobin

Citing Tobin’s extensive and proven track record of advocating for Arizona’s business and economic development opportunities, The United States Chamber of Commerce announced their endorsement today for Andy Tobin’s campaign for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. The U.S. Chamber pledges the full support of Arizona’s business community as Tobin campaigns throughout the district.

“In today’s economy, it is critical that members of Congress provide strong support of free enterprise and leadership for policies that will return America to its full growth potential,” said U.S. Chamber National Political Director Rob Engstrom. “We’re proud to stand with Andy Tobin and his candidacy for Congress in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. Andy has a demonstrated record of promoting Arizona jobs, and in this race is the clear choice to lead on policies that will boost economic growth, create jobs and get our country back on track.”

“It is no surprise that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s leading voice for job creators, has endorsed Andy Tobin for Congress,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee Member Glenn Hamer. “Andy Tobin has been one of the most consequential Arizona legislators in a generation. Few can match his reputation for tax cuts, regulatory reform and tort reform, which have helped spur growth in our economy and made Arizona a much more competitive and attractive state for business. The U.S. Chamber’s endorsement is an acknowledgment of what we in Arizona have known for many years: Andy Tobin will fight tirelessly for jobs and a stronger economy.”

“The United States Chamber of Commerce is a key leader in our fight for economic development and job creation in Arizona,” said Tobin. “I am proud to say that we have made incredible strides to recover jobs, nurture a pro-business environment and attract international companies to Arizona in the past decade. But the work is not done. Having the support of Rob Engstrom, Glenn Hamer and the U.S. Chamber is a valuable resource in my fight to restore more Arizona jobs. When America’s businesses recover and thrive, our country as a whole will return to being an economic leader. I sincerely thank The United States Chamber of Commerce for endorsing my campaign. I look forward to taking proven Arizona solutions to Washington.”

ABOUT ANDY TOBIN:

Andy Tobin and his wife of 28 years, Jennifer, are the proud parents of five children- three daughters and two sons. Tobin is a small business owner who has devoted his life to positively affecting his community through job creation, public service and advocating for conservative principles. Tobin’s focus has been on creating sustainable jobs, helping small businesses succeed, building a stronger middle class and putting Arizona back on track. While serving as Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Tobin drastically cut government by 25 percent, balanced Arizona’s budget and presided over the largest tax cuts in Arizona’s history, saving Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars.

Tobin has fought for your family’s freedoms, your prosperity and your community for the past six years while serving in the Arizona Legislature. He continues to lead the fight to stop the implementation of the disastrous ObamaCare. As your Representative in Congress, Andy Tobin will represent your voice, and lead the charge in fighting for you against the wasteful spending, government intrusion, and out-of-touch insiders that are taking away your freedoms.

Join Andy Tobin today!

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For more information, please contact Tobin for Congress Campaign Manager Craig Handzlik at press@andytobin.com or 928-275-1417

Arizona Republican Party Raises $225,000 Saluting Arizona’s Republican Lawmakers

Arizona Republican Party

PHOENIX – Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham today thanked the nearly 400 attendees at last night’s GOP Legislative Salute that raised $225,000 for the State Party. Keynote speaker Frank Luntz urged those in attendance to remember that the GOP’s strength comes from our authentic commitment to protecting taxpayers, our long-term approach to challenges, and our insistence on holding our government leaders accountable.

“What made this event so successful is the combination of our supporters working together, uniting behind our common goals, and sharing in our plans for victory in 2014,” said Robert Graham, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. “We’ve proven in the short time since the last election that we’re newly energized, we’re committed to the mission of our Republican platform, and last night was a true demonstration there are tremendous resources now available to help us win.”

Governor Brewer spoke to the audience and received a standing ovation, and she thanked Chairman Graham for his leadership. Governor Gregory Mendoza of the Gila River Indian Community presented the AZGOP’s Lifetime Achievement Award to U.S. Senator Jon Kyl. Kyl retired early this year after a lifetime of service to the GOP, our state, and our country. The event featured a special tribute in honor of Speaker of the House Andy Tobin and Senate President Andy Biggs which can be viewed here.

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The Arizona Republican Party also released the following video as part of the salute: