The Salt River Project’s (SRP) board of directors held three open meetings about a rate increase specifically on home solar power system owners over the past few months. The final meeting was held at their Tempe center on 2/26/2015. Solar power advocates gave multiple reasons why the SRP board should not approve the rate increase. One reason given was that the solar industry would require 62.5 years to sell as many home solar power systems as it has sold in Arizona over the past 5 years if the home solar rate increase (solar tax) was implemented. That advocate, projected the loss of those home solar power systems sales would cause a corresponding loss of jobs in the solar industry. Another point was presented that the SRP board had refused to answer questions, provide data or comments on other requests presented to the board relating to the home solar rate increase (solar tax) and that information disclosure suppression left solar advocates without a reference to prepare presentations to the board. A request to delay the vote on the solar tax so that solar advocates could obtain the requested data was denied.
SRP management present a budget that showed that in 2014 SRP posted a loss of $44 million and that with the proposed rate increase SRP would show a $66 million profit in 2015. One SRP board member stated his view that putting info-structure costs on low income customers and allowing home solar power systems owners not to pay their equal share of info-structure costs is unethical. The SRP board agreed to increase the subsidy to low income customers. SRP states that; “The new subsidy provides a $3 increase to the monthly credit for low-income customers on the Economy Price Plan (EPP) from $17 to $20 during the winter months. EPP customers would continue to receive a $21 discount on their summer bills.”
The Salt River Project’s (SRP) board of directors voted on the proposed tax on customers that take some power from SRP and some power from their own solar power systems. The vote was against home solar power system owners. The SRP board voted to implement a 3.3% increase on current rates to all customers and a $1.50 a month flat fee to customers that own home solar power systems starting in April 2015. The board also approved; a .6 increase of rates and another $1.50 increase of monthly fees, starting in April 2016. SRP has more than 20 rate plans and the rate increase and fees is applied to each plan differently, each customer should view their rate plan changes at; http://www.srpnet.com/menu/electricres/priceplans.aspx. The solar rate plan increase incorporates a demand charge directed at peak time users and it is projected to increase the cost to a home owner with a solar power system, and still obtaining 1000kw of electric power from SRP a month, $170 a month.
However; the SRP board chose to grandfather every home owner with a home solar power system installed prior to April 1 2015, sheltering these current home solar power system owners from the demand charge/rate increase over a 20 period starting on the date the system was bought. SRP is not going to grant grandfathering to home owners that install their solar power systems after April 1 2015.