It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Arizona Public Service, or APS—only needed approval from the state’s utility commission, which is 100 percent Republican. And the company generally enjoys strong support among Arizona Republicans. It donated $25,000 to the Republican Victory Fund in 2012, according to Arizona campaign filings. Four of Arizona’s five state utilities commissioners are former members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which has staunchly opposed renewable energy mandates and incentives. On top of that, APS has spent $3.7 million to wage a lobbying and P.R. campaign against net metering, according to a recent disclosure filed with state regulators.
“They view the recent election of an all-Republican ACC as an opportunity to kill the independent solar market in Arizona,” said Jason Rose, spokesperson for Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed (TUSK), a newly formed organization led by former Arizona Republican Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.
And yet the utility faced surprisingly fierce resistance from Arizona conservative activists, including former state GOP chairman Tom Morrissey, former Tempe Mayor and Republican candidate for State Treasurer Hugh Hallman, and an assortment of current and former Republican state lawmakers. “I can't tell you that six months ago we would have seen the success with Republicans that we have seen here now,” said Jason Rose, a Republican public relations consultant whose firm is behind the TUSK campaign. “Republicans who oppose solar in the next election, they are going to be wiped out across the board.”
“Solar power is philosophically consistent with the Republican Party,” Rose added. “If you're going to be for healthcare choice and school choice, how can you not be for energy choice? Conservatives, overwhelmingly, get that. If the Republican Party stops standing for the empowerment of the individual, what does it stand for?”
Goldwater’s team won a minor victory Thursday, when state utilities regulators narrowly voted to impose an average $5 monthly fee on new solar customers in Arizona. While the ruling was a compromise for the solar industry, and an acknowledgement that solar users shift power costs to the utility’s non-renewables customers, the new fees are just a fraction of the $50 to $100 that APS had asked commissioners to add to solar customers’ monthly bills. “The utilities... showed just how far they are willing to go at any cost,” Goldwater said in a statement Thursday night. “That is the legacy of the Arizona net metering battle—a major loss for APS and its allies.”
After denying involvement for months, Arizona Public Service (APS) has recently admitted to funding non-profit organizations created to stop rooftop solar. As reported last Monday in The Arizona Republic, the company “sent cash to two non-profit groups that support the utility’s goal to make solar customers pay higher bills.”
The utility has been lying publicly about funding the anti-rooftop solar organizations because it wanted to give the impression that these organizations were developed and operating through grassroots-level efforts. APS lied to shareholders, ratepayers, and the general public to maintain this illusion.
One of these organizations, 60 Plus, works with consultant Sean Noble, who was also a political consultant for the Koch brothers in their fight against the democratic party and the 2012 Obama campaign. APS has admitted to contracting Noble. Noble has been under investigation for campaign money laundering in CA.
SolarCity and Sunrun are among the companies that offer rooftop systems to consumers at little to no upfront costs. They install the panels and the customers sign long-term contracts to buy the power, typically for less than they pay their local utilities.