Salt River Project customers, particularly those with solar panels on their homes, are battling the utility over its plan to raise solar customers’ rates $50 or more a month.
SRP’s rationale behind the proposal is similar to the stance taken by many other utilities across the country: Solar customers are not paying their fair share of maintaining the power grid because they don’t buy much electricity, and the cost of power lines and power plants is partially rolled into those electricity costs.
Renewable-energy advocates counter that utilities are not giving solar enough credit for reducing pollution and water use, and its other environmentally favorable attributes.
More than 15,000 SRP customers already have had solar panels installed. Hundreds of those who own or lease solar, and many who hope to, are protesting the increases, saying that the dramatic shift in rates is a calculated move to protect the company’s revenue stream.