Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, February 6, 2015

SRP Protest Monday morning February 9... maybe not just about rooftop solar

There was a time -- for about a hundred years -- when granting monopoly status to electric power generating enterprises was a good idea, as long as there was effective regulation in the public interest.

With technological advances AND the fact that most of those monopolies are not heeding the necessary charge to move beyond fossil fuels, that time is clearly passing. To slow the transition, Salt River Project, one of those monopolies not moving very quickly, is poised to kill rooftop solar in its monopoly territory.

Salt River Project, organized as a quasi-municipal entity (making it equivalent to a government agency in and of itself), with a proposal before its board of directors for a vote Monday morning, is moving contrary to the public interest in 2015.

SRP also has to deal with outrage over the fact that some of its executive managers, some paid more than $800,000/year, are also (in addition) treated to ratepayers picking up the tab for private university tuition costs for their children. According to a report by Arizona Republic investigative reporter Robert Anglen,
Records show 77 executives received a total of $2.6 million in tuition assistance between 2009 and 2014 to send their children to Arizona schools, as well as Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Duke and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The reimbursement rate is based on how much it would cost to enroll in a graduate or undergraduate program at one of Arizona's three universities. So the benefit covers students attending expensive out-of-state schools, but is capped at the state's tuition rate.
Fees are reimbursed up to a maximum of $10,000 per semester, according to SRP's published guidelines, with additional caps on what can be spent on books.
Executives, including SRP's general manager, vice president and lobbyists, have each received $35,000 to $100,000 in tuition assistance in the past five years.
Pretty sweet, isn't it?

Columnist Laurie Roberts provided additional detail from Anglen's investigation:
SRP General Manager Mark Bonsall, whose salary was $847,672 in fiscal 2013, has collected $92,689 from ratepayers to cover his kids' tuition and books.
SRP lobbyist Peter Hayes ($407,000 salary) has pulled down $74,252.
I could go on. But I won't because, of course, SRP can explain why people who make tens of thousands of dollars a month need a little something extra to get by.
However, the protest is mostly about a proposal to tack on a $50/month fee for SRP customers with rooftop solar generating systems hooked up to the grid. ASU law professor Troy Rule sees the proposal as a problem.
SRP's donation of renewable power for the Super Bowl is the utility's latest move in an ongoing public relations effort to cast itself as a utility that favors renewable energy. Ironically, while SRP flaunts itself as the Super Bowl's progressive, sustainability-minded partner, the utility's board of directors is preparing to vote on policy changes that would make SRP more unfriendly to rooftop solar energy than any other utility in the nation. (emphasis added)
Sustainability champion and newly seated Tempe City Councilor Lauren Kuby has invited concerned citizens (I hope that's YOU) to the protest on Monday morning.

Let's Save Rooftop Solar in Arizona!

SRP is trying to raise rates on solar customers by an estimated $50 a month!
What gives? SRP should be on our side. After all, the Salt River Project are the innovative pioneers who brought water to Arizona and helped make our life in the desert possible.  
You can email SRP at ombuds@srpnet.com and tell them NOT to charge solar customers another $50 a month.
Think of the benefits of rooftop solar power in Arizona:
  • it’s cheaper—consumers pay less for electricity produced on their roof
  • it’s cleaner—rooftop solar panels don’t contribute to global warming
  • it’s safer—rooftop solar power strengthens our electricity grid
  • there are almost 10,000 jobs in the solar business in Arizona
Don’t let SRP pull the plug on rooftop solar in Arizona. Send SRP an email at ombuds@srpnet.com and tell them that raising rates on solar customers isn’t fair to them or to Arizona.
Thanks for standing up!
Non-profit Vote Solar also has put out the word:
Rally to Stop the SRP Solar Tax
When: Monday, February 9th
8:30 AM: Join hundreds of other solar supporters to rally against the SRP solar tax
9:30 AM: Attend the SRP Board's public hearing to make your voice heard
Where:
SRP PERA Club1 E. Continental Dr.Tempe, AZ 85281

Click for a map to the Pera Club. It is west of College/68th Street, a half mile south of McDowell Rd in north Tempe (south Scottsdale).

Be there or be square!!

DEMAND that SRP scuttle the solar tax completely, not simply set it at $5/month like the Corporation Commission did for APS.

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Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped outLe Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century

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