Electricity Rates Should Be Fair and Affordable For All: Why Arizona Consumers Should Support Net Metering Updates
Solar energy is a core component of Arizona’s energy future. Arizona already has the most solar power per capita in the nation, due in large part to the state’s abundance of sunshine.
A number of years ago, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) instituted a net-metering program as a way to further incentivize homeowners to install rooftop solar panels. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits rooftop solar customers for the excess electricity they generate and sell to an electric company using the grid.
The net metering policies that the ACC established at the time, as well as tax credits and a variety of other incentives, helped to launch the rooftop solar market in Arizona. Now that the solar industry has matured, the ACC is reviewing the need for continuing the level subsidies created by net metering policies.
Arizona customers with rooftop solar panels are credited for the power they sell to the local utility at the full retail electricity rate. This rate includes all of the fixed costs of the infrastructure that makes the electric grid safe, reliable, and able to accommodate rooftop solar panels. Through the credit they receive, net-metered solar customers in Arizona effectively are avoiding paying these costs for the grid. Yet, rooftop solar customers rely on the grid more than non-solar customers, as they use it both to buy and to sell electricity.
In simple terms, this means that consumers who cannot afford or do not want rooftop panels are paying to subsidize their neighbors who have them. This is a fundamental issue of fairness.
What Can Be Done?
The ACC is currently considering changes to the state’s net metering policies. Consumers should contact the ACC and urge commissioners to update Arizona’s net metering policies to require rooftop solar customers to pay for their fair share of fixed costs of the grid.
It is vital that Arizona have a diverse supply of safe and reliable electricity and that electric rates should be fair and affordable for all customers. Low- and middle-income families who cannot afford rooftop solar should not have to pay higher electricity prices to subsidize those who can.
ACT NOW: Submit your comments to the ACC now. Time is running out!