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APS’s proposals fail to solve anything. Here are the questions that APS never answered and an explanation of what we need now.

This post is meant to follow my previous post analyzing the effects of the APS proposals.

The Technical Conferences hosted by APS failed to meet the intent of the mandate by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The discussion was biased and the educated opinions of the audience were largely ignored.

Here is what we need now.

Solar owners do not wish to cause undue hardship on anyone. A true solar advocate favors solar over conventional energy because it brings clean energy and sustainability to Arizona.

We of all people advocate the gradual reduction of subsidies such that solar may one day stand on its own two feet. If there is a flaw in the sustainability model of solar, it is in our own collective best interest to determine where the problem lies so that we may find a solution that benefits all parties and ensures an actual “bright future” for solar and clean energy in Arizona.

For that reason, the solar industry embraced the APS Technical Conferences with open arms. We were hopeful that this would shed some light on the true effects of net metering, but our goals have not been met. Our questions have not been answered, and we have only strayed further from the path to a sustainable energy future, one that has potential to blaze the trail for bordering states presented with the same situation.

We want to know the truth.

How much is solar benefiting or costing our utility companies?

Why won’t APS show us their numbers?

APS ignores solar studies in favor of their own, but this is to be expected. Both are likely biased at least somewhat. APS tell us that solar customers are costing them $18 million each year and growing, but we have not seen a single line of the formula that leads them to this figure. Solar studies have determined the opposite effect, that solar is saving utilities almost twice that each year.

We need to sit down with both studies and dig through them line by line to determine where the discrepancies are so that we can uncover the truth.

If solar is costing APS $1,000 per year per system in lost infrastructure costs, how much is lost due to reduced power generation revenue?

Of the entire bundled rate of retail power, what percentage is power sales and what percentage is grid infrastructure?

Is this proportionally in line with the $1,000 solar claim by APS?

Is this ratio in line with other utilities in the region?

If APS is going to propose dramatic changes to our rate structures then we deserve to know the whole truth. I have a feeling APS has chosen this $1,000 per solar customer per year figure to offset not only their lost fixed costs but also their lost variable revenue from power sales. They have made no effort to show stakeholders how they have come up with these numbers. Surely they don’t expect us simply to trust them in their position.

If APS is so concerned with solar customers costing non-solar customers in the form of rate hikes, why then are they proposing increased upfront subsidies which tax the same body of people?

Why hasn’t APS suggested an amount for the upfront subsidy increase?

Who would be responsible for determining this amount, and how would we do so without seeing the math behind the rest of APS’s claims?

Solar advocates are sick of this gridlock. If there is a problem, we want to determine what it is so that we may fix it forever. But it is apparent that the APS proposed changes miss the mark. Perhaps we will determine that solar saves the utility money or perhaps we will determine the opposite, but we are not going to get there until we have an open and honest discussion, one which we have not been afforded at this point