Despite claims made by Arizona Public Service, the utility thus far has not been open to options on net metering. APS has been trying to kill rooftop solar in Arizona, or at least change the rules to have this effect.
Rather than innovate or find ways to profit from solar power, APS decries the solar industry and opines that its revenue is heading downward. That’s not the solar industry’s problem. That’s not the ratepayers’ problem. That’s a problem for APS shareholders, and that must not be our state’s concern.
Instead of trying to fix the problem, APS is trying to fix the game. It’s looking to rig the system so the utility doesn’t have to pay fair market value for the excess electricity that rooftop solar customers send back to the grid. That’s the essence of “net metering.”
The bottom line is that this will impact APS’ bottom line. And what APS is saying is that it doesn’t want to make less money.
Rather than try to outlaw smartphones, Bill Gates developed the Windows phone. Phone companies provide cable TV service. Cable TV companies provide internet service. Internet-based companies are carrying television programs and movies. In the private sector, you either innovate or evaporate.
APS executives should have embraced net metering and seen the potential for profits. Now that they have missed the boat, they want to sink it. They have been around for so long and are so set in their ways that they don’t understand that what’s good for APS isn’t necessarily good for Arizona.
APS enjoys a healthy profit margin. Its profits have increased by more than 50 percent since 2008. Its long-term financial forecasts cite solar energy as competition that could impact profits. But instead of trying to figure out a long-term solution, APS is trying to convince the Arizona Corporation Commission to change the rules so its shareholders will continue to see generous dividends. That’s not capitalism; that’s cronyism, and I firmly believe those serving on the ACC will side with energy choice and ratepayers and stand against a utility that would rather change the rules than change its ways.
Indeed, APS’ efforts to crash the future of solar power in this state are the very reason I applauded the ACC for taking the first steps toward more utility competition in this state.
Former U.S. Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. is chairman of the group Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.