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SRP and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad E27 Rate Plan

In a recent AZ Central article, SRP board member Mr. Jack White said that “they had not heard from many customers” in regards to SRP’s reevaluation of its E27 solar rate plan.

My Response

SRP’s mandated E27 plan is abusive. By imposing additional fees and usage constraints only applicable to customers with solar arrays, it effectively makes residential solar non-viable in SRP territory. It has been soundly rejected by its customers, as evidenced by the utter lack of solar installs over the last four years. Since 2015, APS customers have installed 1100% more solar than SRP customers. Yet, APS’s customer base is only 10% larger.

I don’t know how SRP can be anything but embarrassed by that fact.

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The Problem

I’ve performed hour-by-hour analysis and simulation on my power usage over the last 2 years. The results? If I invested in a $30,000 solar array, my monthly SRP bill would go down no more than 15%.

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The E27 plan guarantees that I will never be able to offset any significant portion of my costs. Furthermore, it actively penalizes customers who install solar arrays which are not large enough to cover most of a home’s power draw.

Under the E27 plan, it is too risky for a homeowner to install an affordable system. The E27 plan forces any prospective customer to buy way more solar capacity than they’ll generally use, or risk extremely high bills. For example, if I were to install a modest $15,000 system, I could expect that my grid usage would be reduced by nearly 25%, but my power bills would be 22% higher than if I were to not install solar at all!

We live in one of the best places in the world to take advantage of solar power. It is an absolute travesty that SRP has eliminated residential solar as a viable option for its customers.

A Suggested Solution

SRP must rescind demand-based billing for solar customers. When E27 was introduced, it was justified under the pretence that solar customers were not “paying their fair share” into flat grid maintenance costs. That claim has a big problem, though.

If customers with less-than-average usage are underpaying, then clearly SRP is overcharging customers with higher-than-average usage, as well!

The solution is simple: SRP should restructure rate plans for all of its customers to reflect actual costs. Include a flat “grid maintenance” fee, and then charge customers on the basis of their per-kWh usage per usual.

I urge the board to strongly reconsider its treatment of solar customers. Solar must be a critical part of our collective power strategy as we move towards the future. Encouraging the augmentation of our grid generation with distributed solar generation is better for all of us. SRP’s backwards and self-serving approach to solar must change.