APS Stealing electric

MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
Found this out after commissioning our system near Phoenix.


APS has put into place a policy that they will not install bidirectional meters until after commissioning. No big deal, right? WRONG. It is taking them up to 4 weeks AFTER commissioning to do so. In the meantime the Green Team will lie to you and say that "don't worry, your meter is running backwards, you will only pay the difference" THIS IS TOTALLY FALSE. Smart meters will NOT run "backwards" (in our case it looks like our meter actually BILLED us for our production!)

The tech that installed our meters stated that "oh yours was low, some of the systems are showing 1000kwh generated" And any of that electric that you didn't use, you GAVE to APS which then SOLD it to your neighbors.

I am pretty sure that in AZ theft of electricity is a felony. Isn't it?

(So timeline for those skim reading. APS commissions system, waits up to a month to install bidirectional meter, and in the meantime sell the electric they aren't keeping track of)
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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Not when done by either the government or the utility. :p
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    Not when done by either the government or the utility. :p

    Well will be interesting to see what Arizona Corporation Commission will say. Filed a complaint. Course I fully expect it to be "ok" cuz it wasn't intentional. (My arse)
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    Well will be interesting to see what Arizona Corporation Commission will say. Filed a complaint. Course I fully expect it to be "ok" cuz it wasn't intentional. (My arse)
    They will probably tell you that it wasn't legal for you to have it turned on in the first place, my utility did.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    They will probably tell you that it wasn't legal for you to have it turned on in the first place, my utility did.

    And that would be APS's problem. They Commissioned it.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    As a side note, the State Corp Commission was aware they were taking a long time to commission, but they were not aware of them turning systems on and getting electric for free. Definitely peaked their interest.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    I am pretty sure that in AZ theft of electricity is a felony. Isn't it?

    I don't know. They didn't do anything wrong. They told you to wait for a month, but you didn't. Instead, you decided to feed your electricity through their meter. You thought that they won't notice and you would get away with "free" net-metering. However, the meter happened to be smarter than you.
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    However, the meter happened to be smarter than you.

    Just like the auto-correct on my phone :)
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    BACKUP They did NOT tell me to wait a month. THEY CAME AND TURNED IT ON. Not sure how you got that from what I typed. The system was turned on the day of commissioning they decided that they would wait (according to the installer) up to a month to install the bidirectional meter. They ALSO put a lock on the system and instructed us that we had to notify them if we were turning the system off.

    How in any way shape or form is that my fault? Do you work for APS?
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Attachment not found.


    They even admit to turning on the system and then installing the BD Meter 7-10 days AFTER on their FB page. Again, the system was ONLY turned on when they commissioned it, and according to my installer they are doing this a LOT.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    I would understand if I went and did this behind their back, but this is their CURRENT POLICY and according to their installer changed. They used to install the meters after the city inspection and before commissioning, now they are doing it up to a MONTH after commissioning.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Oh, I didn't know they had their own installer who connected the system that way. In this case they probably will re-fund you everything that the meter has added.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Oh, I didn't know they had their own installer who connected the system that way. In this case they probably will re-fund you everything that the meter has added.

    You would think but they have NO record so they can't. Talking to my installer and found out they are doing this all over the valley.


    I did not relent and they are crediting me the max output of the system on peak for the period of time that they didn't have the meters in place. Most folks are oblivious to this little trick they are pulling and they end up donating free electric.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    You would think but they have NO record so they can't.

    Since their meter malfunctioned by the fault of their own installer, you have no obligation to pay anything that was metered. I'm sure you can settle in for some reasonable amount.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Let me explain the process here.

    You get the system installed after permits etc.

    City inspects plant, approves for electric

    At this point you will have the meter that your installer put up, and the original meter that you had prior to solar.

    WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN:

    After city inspection and any time up to system turn on your PV meter and your regular smart meter are replaced. This allows them to measure output of plant, and the net metering after use


    WHAT IS HAPPENING:

    APS is coming out after the city inspection looking at the plant and your installer turns on the system. AT THIS TIME you are giving any excess to APS for FREE. In some cases, you will get not even get billed just for what you use, but you will also get billed for your generation. This was happening for us (technically we didn't get a bill yet but I was watching the data from the smart meter on THEIR website and it was reporting usage that simply couldn't have occurred.

    Its not a failure of the meter, its a deliberate change in their process to get the systems up before output can be monitored. Is it a lot? No, but it goes along with the rest of the way they are giving the finger to solar here.
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    BACKUP They did NOT tell me to wait a month. THEY CAME AND TURNED IT ON.

    So turn it off.
    They ALSO put a lock on the system and instructed us that we had to notify them if we were turning the system off.

    They locked it on? I've never seen a system that could be locked on. Every system I've ever seen has an accessible shutdown method.

    Sounds like it's an annoying problem - but this is the kind of thing that likely falls under Hanlon's Razor.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Didn't realize there were that many folks that worked for the utilities on here. My bad. The point is I caught them doing this.

    Nevermind, just feel free to get shafted the first month if you live in APS land.

    Some of us did this to reduce over all costs, not because it makes our granola taste better.
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    Some of us did this to reduce over all costs, not because it makes our granola taste better.

    And some of us are perfectly happy to reduce our bills overall, even if it takes a week or so to get the system commissioned and working. In the long term the few $$ that you might lose to commissioning screwups probably isn't that significant.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    Its not a failure of the meter, its a deliberate change in their process to get the systems up before output can be monitored. Is it a lot? No, but it goes along with the rest of the way they are giving the finger to solar here.

    I think it's very simple. If they forced you to turn on the system, it's their fault.

    If you (or your installer) could leave it off, but decided to turn it on, it's your fault.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    And some of us are perfectly happy to reduce our bills overall, even if it takes a week or so to get the system commissioned and working. In the long term the few $$ that you might lose to commissioning screwups probably isn't that significant.


    Glad your bills are reasonable, here in Phoenix they are far from. Their little screw up is up to 30% on one months bill. If you are comfortable DONATING electric feel free. This isn't about taking a week to get commissioned, it was already commissioned, its about APS's attitude towards solar in general (they are accusing rooftop solar of STEALING) And like I have said repeatedly, they are taking up to a month to put the correct meters in. So some folks are donating electric, some are getting charged for what they generate and donating.

    http://www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com/solar/energy-independence/this-much-is-true-aps-has-been-caught-in-a-huge-lie/
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    MikeSus wrote: »
    Glad your bills are reasonable, here in Phoenix they are far from. Their little screw up is up to 30% on one months bill.

    It took us about a month and a half to sort out the problems with our system when we first turned it on (re-enabled it actually.) We bought the house, transferred the buyback contract and the SDG+E service, did a little work on the system and started it back up. When we got our first bill a month later there was a pretty large kwhr-used number and a note that there was a problem with our meter. Called them and it turned out that although we had transferred the service directly, and had spoken with the SDG+E guy when he came out, the "grid tie" part of our service got forgotten about. That increased our bill by about 500% that month since we generate more than we use. (Would have been a lot more than that, actually, but it wasn't a full month.)

    But in the end it got fixed, and no one was out to STEAL our power - it was just a screw up.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    I'd be after your Installer, mine told me not to turn it back on until the meter was changed. You can argue all day long if it was commissioned when they completed their Inspection and ready for service, your Installer knew you wouldn't be paid and if fact you'd be charged for what you produced until the meter was changed, Mine Did. Since you chose to leave it on, you lose.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Maybe you don't know what is going on here in AZ but APS has been Attacking Solar, they were caught running ads against solar and accusing homeowners of STEALING from their neighbors. All while they changed their internal policies to allow them to get free electric.

    Feel free to bash me and prop them up, I got it resolved was trying to help others get a heads up but you are determined to make it into my fault because they changed their policy and are lying to customers. I am done.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Good grief, guys!
    I go away for a few hours to fix some plumbing and when I come back WW III has broken out?

    Did you read what Mike wrote? The utility commissions the system, turning it on and locking the disconnect even though they know the meter will not read any surplus back-fed to the grid.

    To them it's "a few cents worth of electricity". Until you multiply it out by many homes. There is no way to know how much power they may have gained (for free) from any given install because it was not metered.

    And if you have been reading all the posts (like I do) you would know that APS has been actively trying to discourage solar installs (the most polite way I can put it).

    Mike, if you had had the benefit of this forum beforehand you'd have gone into GT as cynical as can be and suspicious of everything every step of the way. At that point, lock or no lock, you'd have shut down the GTI when you realized the meter was the wrong kind.

    I'm not entirely sure APS is deliberately doing this, though; some of the comments from them regarding solar demonstrates they are woefully ignorant of the whole grid-tie solar thing and how it works. They seem to see it as a threat to profits, and beyond that they don't want to know. Nor are they alone in utilities with that attitude.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    A locked Disconnect, what about the Backfeed breaker ?? Unless there is some kind of side line tap. My outside disconnect is box is locked, I would assume that most are.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,611 admin
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    A decade ago, Northern California's utility (PG&E) was known for badly screwing up the first month's bill (mine went from $30 monthly electric bill to ~$180. All because the system was turned on and the meter did turn backwards--But the billing computer thought it was a miss read and thought that a -200 kWH net metered was a +800 kWH usage).

    In PG&E's defense, called the utility and they agreed to bill the $30 average bill for the ~3 weeks the "wrong meter" was used.

    There were other billing issues regarding tiered rates (more you use, the higher rates you pay) and Time of Use plans--The used the abiguity in the rate plans to redo the billing to dramatically hit people with power meters for Electric Vehicles. That and a requirement that people with solar must go on time of use plans--People with smaller solar power systems (to "see if it worked") found their power bills went up--even with solar GT power because of the summer afternoon 3x increase in $$$/kWH rates.

    Thank you Mike for telling us about what is happening in Arizona now--I have told people many times that they need to understand the details of the rate structure and the "issues" of turning on the system before the utility replaces the meter.

    GT Solar is only allowed because the government makes the utilities accept GT Solar Power--The utilities have very little desire to support distributed power generation. There is no money in it--And as more GT is installed, both the economic and engineering (grid power) stability of Utility/Central Power generation is at risk.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric
    Good grief, guys!
    I go away for a few hours to fix some plumbing and when I come back WW III has broken out?

    Did you read what Mike wrote? The utility commissions the system, turning it on and locking the disconnect even though they know the meter will not read any surplus back-fed to the grid.

    To them it's "a few cents worth of electricity". Until you multiply it out by many homes. There is no way to know how much power they may have gained (for free) from any given install because it was not metered.

    And if you have been reading all the posts (like I do) you would know that APS has been actively trying to discourage solar installs (the most polite way I can put it).

    Mike, if you had had the benefit of this forum beforehand you'd have gone into GT as cynical as can be and suspicious of everything every step of the way. At that point, lock or no lock, you'd have shut down the GTI when you realized the meter was the wrong kind.

    I'm not entirely sure APS is deliberately doing this, though; some of the comments from them regarding solar demonstrates they are woefully ignorant of the whole grid-tie solar thing and how it works. They seem to see it as a threat to profits, and beyond that they don't want to know. Nor are they alone in utilities with that attitude.

    Trust me I was cynical and that is the only reason I caught what they were doing. Their green team is telling folks that you won't get credits for net metering but you will only get billed based on the meter spinning back while producing and forward on on usage. This is totally false. I assume most folks don't notice this as its lost in their lease, but our system was a straight purchase. This is further obscured by the fact that the meter appears to run backwards when in fact it does not (verified by their service installer)

    As to deliberate? I can only go by what their service installer said. "We used to install the meters before commissioning now we don't and it takes up to 4 weeks after commissioning" When I asked why, he didn't know. I have asked that question a number of times and have gotten answers from "safety" to "the meters won't work" (seriously? a bidirectional meter won't work one way?)

    Given their current behavior, its hard not to think their motives are anything close to pure.

    Additionally, it appears that the previous smart meter was reading high (I have an efergy monitor) and the new meter seems closer to what I see on the efergy.
  • MikeSusMikeSus Solar Expert Posts: 64 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    AND I Did call the State Corp Commission and they were aware of the long lead times on commissioning, but they were not aware that they were turning systems on before installing bi-directional meters. They are investigating to see if they broke any laws by changing the policy and they were very concerned that they were getting free electric by changing this policy.

    A LOT of the installs here are seniors doing leases. They more than likely wouldn't catch this...

    As to the questions about shutting it down. Yes DC disconnects were still there. Again, here in AZ if you shut your system off, you have to notify them. The fact that they are locking the disconnect and at the same time not installing the correct meters is very suspect. For those that do not know, they were caught red handed funding anti-solar ads in AZ paid for by the Koch Brothers.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    Mike you know the true up payment was reduced this year by the ACC at APS request from $0.0659 kWH to $0.0289 kWh on the EPR6 rate plan. What payment rate plan are you running on?
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: APS Stealing electric

    maybe you should consider approaching an attorney to sue them. they won't go to jail for their theft, but you can make them pay for their criminal acts.
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