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As temperatures soar across Arizona, so has the debate between out-of-state rooftop solar companies and APS over net metering reform. This is a complicated and important issue for our senior communities served by APS, and our concern is that seniors are being sold a rotten deal by those representing these out-of-state companies – companies that want little more than to be the next Solyndra benefiting from taxpayer handouts.
Here are the facts. Individuals in Arizona are free to choose to install solar panels on their property. We strongly support this choice. But others, particularly seniors living on fixed incomes who have great difficulty dealing with higher costs for utilities and other services, should not be asked (or required) to subsidize that choice.
We support reforms that not only preserve choice, but also protect seniors and other Arizonans from unfair rates. No senior living on a fixed income should be forced to live on less so someone much wealthier can decide to put solar panels on their house and so out-of-state solar companies can pad their bottom lines.
However, the message being put forward by these California solar companies, through their “coalition” of local Republicans – the aptly named TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) – is pure political spin. They have focused on everything but the issue at hand (other energy subsidies, Republican politics, typewriters, etc.) in order to demonize APS and avoid the facts.
APS has advocated for a level playing field, where all customers are treated fairly in regards to energy costs. They understand that the current net metering method is unfair to customers without solar systems – disproportionately those with smaller checkbooks and living on fixed incomes – and that, without reform, these same people will be forced to pay far more for power than they should.
The California solar companies and TUSK don’t want to admit that while those with rooftop solar create energy, they still need to hook up to the grid like anyone else and when they don’t pay for the basic costs of that service, other customers are left holding the bag. Without reform, seniors and those living on a fixed income will face hard choices as their energy costs soar each month. It’s not fair to ask them to pay for others’ choices.