Amidst Major Solar Battle, Arizona’s Largest Utility Quietly Renews ALEC Membership

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Originally published on ClimateProgress
by Kiley Kroh

India Solar Power
Image Credit: AP Photo/Gurinder Osan

As hearings begin to determine the fate of Arizona’s booming solar industry, Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility, quietly renewed its membership in the corporate anti-clean energy group the American Legislative Exchange Council after publicly leaving it in 2012.

APS spokesman Jim McDonald told the Arizona Capitol Times the utility pays $7,000 in membership fees and an additional $3,000 to have a seat on ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force. “ALEC is a pro-business organization. We support lots of pro-business organizations,” McDonald said. “We’re a proud member of ALEC.”

ALEC’s ‘pro-business’ backers feature a host of corporations and individuals opposed to clean energy, including numerous fossil fuel interests and the billionaire ultra-conservative Koch brothers. In 2012, the organization set its sights on clean energy and tried to repeal states’ renewable energy laws and despite failing in every instance, shows no intention of relenting.

In Arizona, Arizona Public Service is currently embroiled in a major fight over solar energy and on Wednesday the state’s energy regulator, Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), will begin hearings into how much customers should be compensated for the energy produced by solar panels installed on their homes and businesses. Solar advocates argue that if the policy, known as net metering, is altered to charge consumers more, it could deal a death-blow to their rapidly growing industry.

In addition to their ALEC membership, APS has come under fire recently after admitting that it had been secretly contributing to outside nonprofits running negative ads against solar power, namely the Koch-backed group “60 Plus.”

And the ACC has its own connections to the conservative, anti-clean energy group. A Think Progress analysis found four of the five commissioners have ties to ALEC, including Commissioner Robert Burns who recently announced a probe into the APS funding of 60 Plus.

Currently 43 states and the District of Columbia have net metering policies in place to encourage the growth of technologies like rooftop solar. According toThe Washington Post, the implications of Arizona’s fight extend far beyond the state’s borders: “For the solar industry, if rates consumers can charge drop to a point at which solar panels aren’t economically viable in Arizona, sales could plummet. For the utility companies, a victory in Arizona would set the ball rolling in other states where net metering rules are up for debate.”

A look at ALEC’s agenda for the December convening of its Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force shows they are well aware of the opportunity to attack net metering nationwide. The task force will consider a resolution “calling on states to update net metering policies so that anyone who uses the grid in any way — even adding energy to it — would have to pay a fixed charge or some other rate mechanism,” EcoWatch reported.

Jason Rose, a veteran Republican consultant working for the solar industry, toldThe Washington Post, “If the utilities are able to upend rooftop solar in Arizona, the sunniest state, then imagine what they can do everywhere else.”

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Guest Contributor

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.

Guest Contributor has 4312 posts and counting. See all posts by Guest Contributor

5 thoughts on “Amidst Major Solar Battle, Arizona’s Largest Utility Quietly Renews ALEC Membership

  • Gee, I think Arizona Public Service has forgotten what their name means. With the new EOS batteries there are going to be a lot of communities in Arizona that don’t really need APS any more. I’m sure the public will be sympathetic to their plight after fighting them off. 😉

    • The utility business is undergoing a great shakeup. Some will catch on and adopt earlier. Others will need to experience a large amount of pain before they comprehend what is happen.

      Some are likely to go bankrupt and a new organization will take over their business.

      We see that with technology changes. Kodak, RIP.

  • Things don’t go better with Koch.

  • fossil, as the name says, is something of long time gone.
    no matter what, fossil will be done in near future. its happening now.
    new technic is available and more competitive and clean green.
    heat pump, EV, induction cooking, all electric.
    stupid to burn your dollars on fossil.
    make money with your own energy.
    burning fuel is like burning dollars.
    let the dollar burn crisis stop.

  • APS CEO had a salary of $5 million last year, with a $5 million bonus. APS is as corrupt as they get. They will keep increasing their “Grid Access” fee for grid-tie solar customers until it reaches the same as if you were buying power from them. Meanwhile, each customer pays “Environmental Benefits Fee” of $3.50 per household, per month. This fee was used to pay the APS $3 per installed watt rebate, but now APS pays just 10 cents per installed watt…and this $3.50/month fee remains. There is no outmaneuvering these people as long as we are on their grid. Off-grid is the only answer.

Comments are closed.