By Brian Wright for CopaMonitor.com
Utility rates are always a hot topic of discussion in Maricopa, and now those who want to use solar power will have additional complaints.
Starting July 1, Electrical District No. 3 (ED3) will raise its rates more than 400 percent on new solar customers. In addition to raising its fixed cost recovery charge from 70 cents to $3, ED3 will also limit new solar installations to 30 a month.
ED3 general manager Bill Stacy gave a presentation to the City Council June 2 and explained why his company needs to charge more to new solar customers.
Stacy noted ED3 has a higher percentage of its customers on solar power than either of the two major electric companies in the Phoenix metro area – SRP and APS.
SolarCity, a company that provides solar panels to homes, will clearly lose business in Maricopa due to ED3’s decision.
Drew Manusharow, a senior field consultant at SolarCity, said utility companies are feeling the heat of the growing popularity of solar power – and those companies view solar as a threat to their bottom line.
He said people should have the right to choose what type of energy they want to use, and added ED3’s higher rates could force some people to abandon the idea of solar power.
Manusharow said it’s a shame because Arizona is a place that makes more sense than anywhere to use solar because of its abundant sunshine. Yuma and Phoenix are the two sunniest cities on Earth, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
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