SRP (Arizona POCO) hits solar customers with $50/month fee. APS next?

HX_GuyHX_Guy Solar Expert Posts: 296 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
Talk about trying to kill the industry. If this starts to be common, won't homeowners look more and more at going off grid? Instead of paying $50+ per month in addition to whatever the bill as before, I'd rather use that money toward a long term, low interest loan on batteries.
SRP passes new solar rate structure; solar groups threaten lawsuit

Following an extensive three-month public process, Salt River Project's board of directors Thursday approved a general rate hike as well as controversial changes to the utility's solar rate structure.

For all SRP customers, the board approved a 3.3 percent hike for one year starting this April. Then another 3.9 percent increase will take effect beginning April 2016.

Beginning with the April 2015 billing cycle, the monthly bill for a typical residential customer will increase by about $3.85 until April 2016, when that figure will then average $4.60.

The board also approved a new price plan for residential customers who, after Dec. 8, 2014, add rooftop solar systems.

Management had proposed that existing solar customers be "grandfathered" from moving to the new price plan for a period of 10 years, but the board extended that by up to 20 years for SRP customers who installed rooftop solar units to run from the time the system was installed. The Board also voted to allow unlimited transfer of the grandfathering with the sale of the home for all rooftop solar customers. during that 20-year period.

The new self-generation price plan includes increased charges to better recover fixed costs related to the solar customer's service facilities and their use of the grid, but also reduces the price the customer pays per kilowatt hour for energy.

SRP District 7 board member Keith Woods said that the approved increases were a "splitting of the baby" between the proposal from SRP management and the objections of solar industry representatives.

"It was a difficult decision," said Woods. "We have discussed this for months and there has been significant public comment. We believe this is a fair decision."

The measure to approve the grandfathering provisions protecting leased and owned solar facility contracts passed 12-2. The overall rate structure passed 11-3. The SRP board president only votes in case of ties.

Solar industry representatives threatened litigation if the new rates passed.

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP was retained to handle legal matters. The firm does not have a Phoenix office, but they have an office in the Bay Area, which is home to Solar City, one of the more vocal opponents of the rate hike.

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2015/02/27/srp-passes-new-solar-rate-structure-solar-groups.html?page=all

Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,804 ✭✭✭✭✭
    well I followed the link and read your post, who's charging the extra $50 a month? I didn't see reference to this anywhere...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • HX_GuyHX_Guy Solar Expert Posts: 296 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    SRP is the one charging the new fees.

    Here is the actual info from SRP, page 66: http://www.srpnet.com/prices/pricepr...ok.pdf#page=71

    I only quickly scanned over it, but it seems this is very much TOU based and very much based on how much energy you're using from SRPs grid?
    So does it then mean the people with the smallest systems will be penalized the most? You'll be "labeled" as a solar customer, so you are forced into this rate plan, but if your system is small and you still rely on the grid a lot, it seem like you'll be paying a lot vs if you have a big system, you'll pull very little from the grid?

    And what if you are on a Standard plan and no a TOU one? Or one that has the Demand aspect of it...or are they forcing solar customers into a TOU plan with Demand?
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    I read somewhere that a lady was sued by a Florida Power utility for not connecting to the grid or disconnecting. I would expect more legislation to come in the future to further penalize people that opt out of " the grid". Right now policies are pretty solar friendly, but as more and more people change over to solar fewer and fewer people will be left to carry the utilities costs. Higher rates, means fewer customers, which means higher rates, which means fewer customers, etc.. It will be inevitable. Especially with Elon Musk's new "House Battery" that is scheduled to go into production this summer. A 10KW battery that mounts on your wall. It will be a game changer.
    "We're going to unveil the Tesla home battery -- consumer battery that will be for use in people's houses or businesses fairly soon. We have the design done and it should start going into production probably in about six months or so. We're going to have to figure out a date to have sort of product unveiling. It's probably in the next month or two. It's really great. I'm really excited about it." Elon, Musk
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,601 admin
    yep... People going off the grid in a city--There are lots of ways that PUC/Utilities can stick it to customers that leave the grid and/or dramatically reduce their power usage.

    Seeing a bit of the same thing with hybrid and electric cars--Don't use enough taxed fuel and states want some way to collect their loss tax revenues (GPS based road taxes, several hundred dollar a a year road taxes on registration, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • HX_GuyHX_Guy Solar Expert Posts: 296 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Alaska Man wrote: »
    I read somewhere that a lady was sued by a Florida Power utility for not connecting to the grid or disconnecting. I would expect more legislation to come in the future to further penalize people that opt out of " the grid". Right now policies are pretty solar friendly, but as more and more people change over to solar fewer and fewer people will be left to carry the utilities costs. Higher rates, means fewer customers, which means higher rates, which means fewer customers, etc.. It will be inevitable. Especially with Elon Musk's new "House Battery" that is scheduled to go into production this summer. A 10KW battery that mounts on your wall. It will be a game changer.
    "We're going to unveil the Tesla home battery -- consumer battery that will be for use in people's houses or businesses fairly soon. We have the design done and it should start going into production probably in about six months or so. We're going to have to figure out a date to have sort of product unveiling. It's probably in the next month or two. It's really great. I'm really excited about it." Elon, Musk

    We're going to need a lot more than 10kW out of that battery, especially here in Arizona. :)
  • HX_GuyHX_Guy Solar Expert Posts: 296 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    BB. wrote: »
    yep... People going off the grid in a city--There are lots of ways that PUC/Utilities can stick it to customers that leave the grid and/or dramatically reduce their power usage.

    Seeing a bit of the same thing with hybrid and electric cars--Don't use enough taxed fuel and states want some way to collect their loss tax revenues (GPS based road taxes, several hundred dollar a a year road taxes on registration, etc.).

    -Bill

    I kind of get the argument for hybrid/electric cars. They still use the same roads that need maintained. Which then I guess I should also get the POCO's perspective, we still need the grid and that grid needs to be maintained.

    [FONT=verdana, arial, sans-serif]But [/FONT]but how do they come up with the rates they are charging? Are they taking into effect the benefit the solar provides them in not needing to generate as much? I like how another state even took the carbon footprint into account when figuring out the benefit.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,601 admin
    Commercial rates in Northern California have two basic cost of business...

    One is the $/kWH price.. The other is the "reservation charge". Basically, the top 15 minute power usage in the last month (or last year--Not sure). Very roughly, ~1/2 the bill is generation charges and the other ~1/2 of the bill is for transmission/distribution network.

    Oh, and the reservation charge can be (is?) charged on the peak from either direction (i.e., peak consumption or peak generation, which ever is worse)--Anyway, that was what I read years ago--This stuff keeps changing.

    Of course there are lots of other variations (time of day, seasonal, ability to be interrupted during power emergencies, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • muliamulia Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Didn't get it.. Is this utility company who charge whoever On-grid with extra charge? Therefore, more people are getting off grid.
  • HX_GuyHX_Guy Solar Expert Posts: 296 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Wow, now that I had not heard of. Crazy...but hate to admit it (actually really hate to admit it), it actually makes sense.

    Here what you are describing is called the Demand, which is a 30 minute period during the month when you use the most energy. The POCO is figuring that you need to pay for that demand because even though it may be a one time occurrence that you needed that much power, they need to have the capacity to cover it. They will however only monitor your Demand from the grid, so if during high noon your solar is producing 10kW and your demand is 9kW, they never see that...if in the evening when the solar isn't producing and you have a Demand of 6kW...then they use the 6kW figure.

    That makes sense too because that is your max demand from THEM. The POCO here actually is saying to mitigate demand, solar customers should face their panels to the west to help in the late afternoon sun when the AC's are cranking at max power or to supplement the system with batteries.

    I guess in California they figure they need to account for your system going off-line or it being a cloudy day, and that makes sense too I guess.
  • muliamulia Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    I read their website and just know that different time usage means different rate. :-s

    Such thing isn't exist in my country, worst, continuous helpless blackout.

    I found utility system in US a bit interesting. There's no monopoly in selling electricity. Here, only 1 company have right to sell power to millions of houses, private is banned by law to sell directly to residential but permitted to sell it to factory. It's owned by country. While in US, there are lots of companies producing and selling their powers directly to resident/business.

    Thinking about what you said. It will be better to go off grid, you'll be charged same price no matter what time you use the power, no need to plan to use most appliances at cheaper rate hour like from utility company and better... no extra charge.... IMO

  • 8n-bob8n-bob Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
    I am not grid tied but I was just thinking of something.

    Could a person incorperate as a "power company" and sell their power to the highest bidder over the grid. I don't know how much power generation companies pay to connect to the grid etc. But once the physical connections are made do these independent "demand" power companies pay a monthly "grid connect fee" like the $50.00 they want to home owners to pay.

    I don't know was just thinking.

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭✭
    HX_Guy wrote: »

    We're going to need a lot more than 10kW out of that battery, especially here in Arizona. :)

    Yeah and you will need about double or triple the amount of solar panel generation to recharge those batteries. My personal peak load in mid summer is about 110 to 130 kWh per day and my July solar generation is only about 65 kWh a day. Depending on the battery, the charging losses would drive the amount of solar generation closer to triple a grid tie situation. That is with virtually no autonomous days of storage to boot.

    Personally I think the utilities are approaching this all the wrong way. The rates for grid maintenance and usage should be separated from the generation completely. Then each user of the utility system gets a fair shake at the cost of attachment. Actually this should be fairly easy to accomplish. The cost for grid maintenance is really easy to separate out from generation. Now that would be fair and probably raise my utility bill a fair amount. Another upside of this method would allow for the deregulation of the generation and the possibility to buy from any generation source (or be your own generator). The grid then becomes truly a distribution system. Could they then allow private generation onto the grid to compete with the utilities. The utilities are pretty fat here, new trucks every other year, fancy office buildings, lots of fat in the employment ...

    APS has already lowered the payout on excess solar generation from about $0.065 kWh to about $0.025 a kWh. I just look to use up as much of my solar excess rather than get paid such a lowly fee.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,601 admin
    When California "deregulated"--The idea was to have PG&E/etc. be the transmission service and you would contract with a "generator" for the actual power. We had (or at least would have had) the option to buy power from "Green Sources" (pay a bit more for green power), etc.

    To be honest, I remember the ads for a little bit--Then it all seem to disappear. I don't remember what happened.

    There are a few independent power systems out there. One in Los Angeles, another in run by the City of Palo Alto... City/County of San Francisco has tried for many years to take over local power.

    Just because they are not private utilties, does not mean that they are any "nicer" to people/environment. For example:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Department_of_Water_and_Power
    The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the largest municipal utility in the United States, serving over four million residents. It was founded in 1902 to supply water to residents and businesses in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. In 1917, it started to deliver electricity. It has been involved in a number of controversies and media portrayals over the years, including the 1928 St. Francis Dam failure and the books Water and Power and Cadillac Desert.
    LADWP can currently deliver 7200 megawatts of electricity and, in each year, 200 billion US gallons (760 million cubic meters) of water.

    And there were some co-generation plants that where built next to office parks--Generate electricity and use the "waste heat" for building heating.

    So--Yes is it possible. Whether it is politically and financially possible is always up for debate. Utilities are always up for a good lobbying campain with the state public utility commission/propositions, etc.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • HX_GuyHX_Guy Solar Expert Posts: 296 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    solar_dave wrote: »

    Yeah and you will need about double or triple the amount of solar panel generation to recharge those batteries. My personal peak load in mid summer is about 110 to 130 kWh per day and my July solar generation is only about 65 kWh a day. Depending on the battery, the charging losses would drive the amount of solar generation closer to triple a grid tie situation. That is with virtually no autonomous days of storage to boot.

    Personally I think the utilities are approaching this all the wrong way. The rates for grid maintenance and usage should be separated from the generation completely. Then each user of the utility system gets a fair shake at the cost of attachment. Actually this should be fairly easy to accomplish. The cost for grid maintenance is really easy to separate out from generation. Now that would be fair and probably raise my utility bill a fair amount. Another upside of this method would allow for the deregulation of the generation and the possibility to buy from any generation source (or be your own generator). The grid then becomes truly a distribution system. Could they then allow private generation onto the grid to compete with the utilities. The utilities are pretty fat here, new trucks every other year, fancy office buildings, lots of fat in the employment ...

    APS has already lowered the payout on excess solar generation from about $0.065 kWh to about $0.025 a kWh. I just look to use up as much of my solar excess rather than get paid such a lowly fee.

    APS would probably argue that they do split it up as it is now. Looking at my last month bill (pre-solar), there are two lines that say...

    Generation of electricity on-peak....$24.01
    Generation of electricity off-peak....$22.59

    Now are those true costs of power generation? Or are they subsidized by all the other line items on the bill? Because the whole bill was $129.83.
  • DanS26DanS26 Solar Expert Posts: 250 ✭✭✭
    solar_dave wrote: »

    Yeah and you will need about double or triple the amount of solar panel generation to recharge those batteries. My personal peak load in mid summer is about 110 to 130 kWh per day and my July solar generation is only about 65 kWh a day. Depending on the battery, the charging losses would drive the amount of solar generation closer to triple a grid tie situation. That is with virtually no autonomous days of storage to boot.

    Personally I think the utilities are approaching this all the wrong way. The rates for grid maintenance and usage should be separated from the generation completely. Then each user of the utility system gets a fair shake at the cost of attachment. Actually this should be fairly easy to accomplish. The cost for grid maintenance is really easy to separate out from generation. Now that would be fair and probably raise my utility bill a fair amount. Another upside of this method would allow for the deregulation of the generation and the possibility to buy from any generation source (or be your own generator). The grid then becomes truly a distribution system. Could they then allow private generation onto the grid to compete with the utilities. The utilities are pretty fat here, new trucks every other year, fancy office buildings, lots of fat in the employment ...

    APS has already lowered the payout on excess solar generation from about $0.065 kWh to about $0.025 a kWh. I just look to use up as much of my solar excess rather than get paid such a lowly fee.

    Dave, you are right on. Utilities billing should separate the the cost of energy from the cost of delivery of that energy.

    Here in Indiana the local REMC's are doing that type of billing. I pay a flat rate of $37 per month for the cost of delivery. That is fair. Now the REMC pays me the wholesale cost of production and I am satisfied with that also.

    Net metering is dead IMHO. You just cannot ask your neighbor to subsidize your solar system.

    Net billing is the future. Everyone pays their fair share.
    23.16kW Kyocera panels; 2 Fronius 7.5kW inverters; Nyle hot water; Steffes ETS; Great Lakes RO; Generac 10kW w/ATS, TED Pro System monitoring with PVOutput.org
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭✭
    HX_Guy wrote: »

    APS would probably argue that they do split it up as it is now. Looking at my last month bill (pre-solar), there are two lines that say...

    Generation of electricity on-peak....$24.01
    Generation of electricity off-peak....$22.59

    Now are those true costs of power generation? Or are they subsidized by all the other line items on the bill? Because the whole bill was $129.83.

    Certainly it is a blending of the bill, if they want "fairness from solar the bill should have a about 3 lines on it, infrastucture, generation TOU peak and generation TOU off peak.

    You will also find an item for "service delivery" That is a per kWh charge and has really nothing to do with each kWh and is used for infrastucture.

    I have no problem with a higher bill that reflects where the money really goes. I do get a service from them holding my excess till I need to use it.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    BGE (MD) separates the delivery charge from the generation charge. I have a contract with a DC electric company for "green" power, so I pay them for the generation and BGE for the delivery.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    10 KW battery will be more than enough for me and I think most Off-Griders.

    It's not a huge market, but as people see how one can live simply and have more independence from costly providers I do believe it will grow. Eventually the power companies will turn into service companies instead of distributors. That is some years out though. People like to flip a switch and not think about the how's and why's. Another thing, lets be honest here, there are lots of people that just don't have the personal inventory to live being responsible for their own electrical use, conservation and production.


    This is where entrepreneurs can make a difference and some money. Small Localized production will play a key role. Think Road Warrior, Beyond Thunder Dome. ;-)

    Economy of scale only works now. As more and more people go with renewables, Behemoth Power Companies just won't survive. IMO


    ETA.................. Our local pays you pennies for what it charges dollars to produce. They are mandated by law to pay for Grid-tie Solar Production, but they don't; make it easy to do or financially prudent either.

    If I hook to the grid every month I have to pay "Fuel Surcharge", "Taxes" and a "Service Charge" before I use 1Wh. That's about $80 for a typical house all for the privilege, in their mind, of using their electricity. No thanks, up until 2008 I could have run my house on the Yamaha for less than that.
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