Arizona utiltiy says solar customers pay just 36% of service cost
Solar rooftop. Author: Michael Coghlan. License: Creative Commons.
Arizona Public Service Co (APS) says its customers that have installed solar arrays pay only 36% of what it costs the electric utility to serve them.
The overall cost of serving a typical solar customer is USD 154 (EUR 136) a month, the utility says in a report summary filed with Arizona regulators on Thursday. It realises savings of USD 36 as the solar energy reduces the use of fuel in power plants and the amount of capacity needed to be on hand to meet grid demand. Solar customers, however, pay just USD 51 of the outstanding USD 118 because of the credits they receive for supplying power to the grid.
APS is due to file a rate hike request next summer and the issue with the cost of serving solar customers could have implications for all rate payers.
APS senior vice president of customers and regulation Jeff Guldner was cited by the Arizona Republic as saying that with the rate hike request the utility would probably propose a "demand rate" for all or most residential customers. According to Guldner, demand rates, which are based on the maximum demand during a given month, rather than the volume of power sold, reflect more accurately the cost of serving customers, especially those with solar panels.
Speaking to the Arizona Republic, Court Rich, an attorney for The Alliance for Solar Choice, called on state regulators to commission an independent study.