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All of APS’s customers are connected to the grid, and as such, they should equally bear the costs of maintenance and upkeep to the grid.  If maintenance and upkeep costs increase over time, costs are going to be passed onto APS’s customers.  This should be done in an equitable way – with each customer paying the same amount for the same maintenance service.  

APS charges a retail rate to their customers for the electricity they use.  And the fee structure is arranged in such a way that on many plans, electricity used during “peak hours” costs the most for APS’s customers to use.  APS’s costs to generate electricity or to buy electricity on the wholesale market are, naturally, lower than the retail rates their customers pay.  This is by design so that APS can cover its operating costs.  

If APS wants to state that the rate they compensate solar customers for the electricity solar customers send out to the grid should be less than the rate those same customers would pay for electricity they may draw from the grid during those same hours, I have no argument with that.  Solar customers exporting electricity to the grid should be compensated at a rate at least equivalent to the wholesale cost to APS of solar electricity, whether generated internally by APS, or purchased on the wholesale market.  At most, solar customers should be compensated for the wholesale rate APS pays for electricity generated during peak hours, since solar customers are most likely to be exporting electricity to the grid in those peak hours.  

It is illogical to tack “extra” fees onto the bill of an APS customer that exports electricity to the grid.  No one should be punished for exporting solar electricity.  Costs of grid maintenance should be born equally.  

It is illogical that an APS customer that exports electricity should be compensated at a wholesale rate equivalent to that of natural gas generated electricity (or of any type of less expensive non-solar generated electricity option), because in the eyes of many Arizonans, solar electricity is superior than less expensive electricity options because there are fewer externalized costs that must be born by the community when solar is the source of the electricity.  

It is illogical that an APS customer exporting electricity should be compensated at an off-peak rate for electricity that is exported during on-peak hours.  

The bottom line is this:
Here in Arizona we take pride in our sunshiny days.  We know that the sun is one of our natural resources, and we encourage harnessing the sun’s power to electrify our homes and businesses.  We have varied reasons for doing this – some of us may be more concerned with self-reliance, others may be more concerned with fossil-fuel induced climate change – but we agree that solar electricity should be a large part of Arizona’s future, and we implore the Corporation Commission to ensure that APS’s policies encourage Arizonan citizens and businesses to harness the power of the sun and by so doing, improve both the self-reliance and environment of our community.

Originally posted to phoenixvoice on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM PST.

Also republished by Phoenix Kossacks.

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