Monopoly’s Plan Loses More Ground With GOP Voters Too
A new poll conducted by the award-winning Public Opinion Strategies finds an overwhelming majority across party lines oppose APS’ efforts to tax rooftop solar savings. It also shows the APS proposal is “politically toxic”, and that solar energy is gaining even more support among Republicans.
APS’ proposed solar tax is also taking its toll on the utility’s public image. The past few months have seen numerous media stories linking third party solar attacks to APS.
Three-hundred Maricopa County likely voters were surveyed between August 20th and 21st. A similar poll was taken in March.
When asked about plans by Arizona Public Service to tax rooftop solar, 83% said the APS plan should be rejected. Specifically the question read:
“Rooftop solar installations for homeowners are an important option to save money, create jobs and help the environment. Plans by Arizona Public Service to tax rooftop solar and make it more difficult to purchase should be rejected.”
“Arizona Public Service says the more rooftop solar we have in Arizona the more non-solar customers may have to pay. As a result we should support the utility’s plan to tax and reduce the amount of rooftop solar in Arizona.”
75% disagreed with that statement while only 19% agreed.
Voters also overwhelmingly believe that solar companies are more likely to save them money than utility companies. Over two-thirds of voters say solar power companies are more likely to save taxpayers money, up 18 points from the same survey that was done this past March. Only 15% of voters believe utility companies are more likely to save them money. APS is attempting to eliminate solar savings by ending net metering, which requires the utility to pay a fair price for excess electricity rooftop solar customers send to the grid. Furthermore, just last year, Arizona Corporation Commission staff concluded that distributed solar systems deployed by the free market cost ratepayers significantly less than large utility-scale or APS monopoly-owned systems. Click here to see the report.
Maricopa County voters give Arizona Public Service a 44% favorable rating. That’s a four point drop since APS launched its attack on solar power customers. Salt River Project, meanwhile, enjoys a net favorable rating 34 points higher than APS.
The war on solar has particularly impacted APS support among seniors. The utility had a 72% favorable rating in March. It plummeted to 45% in August.
Indeed, voting to end solar savings would be political suicide according the poll numbers and results analysis by pollster Glen Bolger. Eighty-four percent of voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted to end the solar power program in Arizona compared to 80% in March.
Republican support has increased substantially. Eight-three percent of Republicans would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted to end the program. In March that number was 72%.
Additionally, the public does not believe APS’ aggressive public relations efforts to disparage the rooftop solar industry and distort the facts on rooftop solar savings.
58% of those surveyed in March say they would most want to encourage the use of solar power. By August that number was 67%.
The survey was prepared by Glen Bolger, one of the Republican Party’s leading political strategists and pollsters. He also compiled the results. Bolger is a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, whose clients include leading political figures, Fortune 500 companies, and a number of successful Republican congressional candidates in Arizona.
Bolger said, “In the five months since the last survey, solar power has only increased in popularity in Maricopa County, including among Republican voters, by every measure tested. Voters strongly oppose Arizona Public Service’s plan to tax and reduce the amount of rooftop solar in Arizona, and the proposal is hurting their corporate image. The proposal is toxic for politicians and by large margins all voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who did support this plan.”
T.U.S.K (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) was formed to stand for energy choice and energy independence. T.U.S.K. Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. said, “This survey proves that APS customers are a lot smarter than APS figured. They not only reject APS’ false claims, they also believe that solar choice is good for Arizona.”
For a copy of the poll or contact Mike Scerbo at firstname.lastname@example.org
T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop the spread of independent solar. Recently, APS has proposed a plan to tax rooftop solar out of existence.