APS energy future propaganda ad

APS propaganda ad says solar has a bright future

Here comes another propaganda ad from APS.

“Solar will always have a bright future in Arizona. We’re taking action now to preserve your choices for years to come.”

Choices? What does choice really have to do with any of this? As in the choice to have solar at all? I need some clarification here; I feel like this is a threat of some sort whereby if we do not adopt the APS proposals then we have no choices at all.

If the people had their way, their choice would be to leave a working system alone. The last APS propaganda ad proved that the current policies work. Give us the choice to leave the industry as it is so that it can continue to grow on its own.

The APS net metering proposals need a lot of work if they are going to ensure a bright future for Arizona solar, rather than a bright future for APS. The two core proposals from APS come with a bullet point in the highlights section of this ad explaining that they would like to increase rate payer subsidies. This does not lead to a sustainable solar future. We were well on our way to eliminating Arizona solar subsidies and these proposals require further subsidies to offset the revenue APS intends to snatch from their solar customers.

Furthermore, you know it’s not a good deal for solar customers when they have to include a bullet point that guarantees current solar customers will be grandfathered in to the existing system. To me, that reads, “we know these new proposals would result in APS taking a large portion of your solar savings, so we would like you to know that we are only going to enforce this on those that have the ability to see it coming in the future, those that haven’t invested their money in solar.”

APS has painted a very misleading picture, one that says that since solar customers are costing APS money then they must also be costing non-solar customers money, a fabricated connection but a brilliant and cunning one indeed; I’ll explain why in a moment. The idea of APS making less money is unacceptable to them because it does not ensure the security of their outdated business model, which means they need to make up for lost revenue by back-charging solar customers to make up the difference.

Back to that connection. Everyone today has the choice to invest in solar and reduce their APS operating costs. The utility is capitalizing on solar by shifting solar customers’ savings over to APS. And they might be able to pull this off because they have tricked non-solar customers into believing that solar customers are costing them money. All the while they are advocating for increased upfront solar incentives which tax the very same group of people they claim to be protecting.

You have told us that your proposals will cost solar customer $50-100 more each month. How much will non-solar customers save with your proposals on each of their monthly bills? And how much will all of your customers be paying toward the Environmental Surcharge which pays the increased upfront solar rebates?

APS claims that existing solar systems will cost them (and therefore their non-solar customers of course) $18 million each year. Let’s assume this report, which I have not been able to locate, is biased in favor of APS. Another, and also likely biased, report in favor of solar says that APS saves $34 million per year due to these same solar customers. We need to have a conversation about the discrepancies in these reports, because if solar customers are not costing APS money like they claim they are, then this whole thing is a charade to unethically capitalize on solar customers’ savings.

Summary

Current System:

  1. Customers invest in solar and reduce energy bills. Very little, and soon no part, of their investment comes from utility solar subsidies provided by rate payers.
  2. APS obviously makes less money in direct revenue from these solar customers that have invested in themselves.
  3. APS possibly makes a lot of money in background (infrastructure, transmission, etc.) savings thanks to distributed generation (DG) solar. (Read this report, which may be biased, but then we have not seen the APS report which is also likely biased.)
  4. APS claims they must raise rates to get their revenue back. And since raising rates most affects non-solar customers, they are skipping the underlying facts and linking solar customers directly to increased costs on non-solar customers.

Proposed System:

  1. APS cunningly charges all customers more to fund increased upfront solar incentives in order to ensure adequate economics for those that wish to invest in solar. Increased subsidies are by definition unsustainable, but APS will need them to ensure they continue to meet their Renewable Energy Standard [link to how regulated monopoly works].
  2. Solar customers save less month to month but have presumably made up the difference by way of the increased upfront APS rebate paid by customers, not APS.
  3. APS makes significantly more money each month from solar customers (they themselves claim this to be $50-100 per month on average) without an ounce of effort or innovation on their part.
  4. Non-solar customers and solar customers alike will go on with the same utility rate hikes we have experienced for the last several decades. Essentially APS will have fought off the computer in favor of the typewriter for just a little bit longer.

Here is what we need.

The first thing we need (click here for more details as this is a post of its own) is a real discussion reviewing the two or more reports available to us, those sponsored by APS and those sponsored by the solar industry. APS claims their Technical Conferences accomplished this, but that was a charade required by the Arizona Corporation Commission which ignored intelligent opinions in favor of their own.

Next, when we are done discussing these reports, we need to have determined the truth as to whether or not DG solar is costing APS money in the form of infrastructure upkeep (not lost power sales revenue which is to be expected considering the nature of a customer installing solar panels on their rooftop).

If APS really is losing money, then we all need to come together to decide what is best for this industry, rather than allowing APS’s boardroom of profit-seeking executives to tell us how it needs to be.

Solar customers want what is fair. They have been painted as liberal con artists taking handouts from hardworking Americans, and it is frankly the silliest bunch of disinformation I’ve seen lately. Solar customers long for the end of subsidies. We believe in solar, not just saving money, and know the day will come when the industry stands fully on its own. But the nature of renewable energy means that the stability sought by this industry can only come at the expense of our utilities until such time as they decide to innovate and capitalize on solar and renewables in a way which moves the world forward.

Take your typewriters to the museum. I wrote this thing on a computer.

Original APS Propaganda Ad:

APS Propaganda Solar Bright Future

Also, view a video propaganda ad here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewwx8GQx52Y