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Regulators: TEP Solar Changes Should Wait

Photo credit: Arizona Daily Star

By David Wichner for Arizona Daily Star

The staff of the Arizona Corporation Commission is for now opposing a proposal by Tucson Electric Power Co. that would increase costs for customers who install rooftop solar systems.

The commission’s Utilities Division says consideration of TEP’s proposal to alter its so-called “net metering” rules should wait until the utility’s next formal rate case.

The staff argued its position at a hearing before a Corporation Commission administrative law judge this week in Tucson. The judge will make a recommendation to the full commission, which will likely consider the matter this summer.

TEP’s plan would revise the utility’s net metering policy to reduce credits solar customers get for excess power production, and thereby reverse what it says is a cost-shift on non-solar customers. The new rules would apply to customers who applied to install and connect solar systems to TEP’s grid after June 1.

Under the plan, a typical new TEP home solar customer would face a $22-per-month increase above what current solar customers pay. UNS Electric, a TEP sister company that serves Santa Cruz and Mohave counties, has filed an identical net-metering request, though costs vary.

The state Residential Utility Consumer Office, which represents consumers in matters before the Corporation Commission, says the issue can and should be heard before the TEP’s next rate case to minimize any impact on rates.

Solar-energy advocates say that rooftop solar systems provide system and societal benefits that outweigh any break customers are getting on their bills.

Read more at Arizona Daily Star

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