Fewer green jobs for AZ: Rep. Carl Seel against Arizona Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards

Fewer green jobs for AZ: Rep. Carl Seel against Arizona Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards

House Bill 2381, proposed by Rep. Carl Seel R-Phoenix, would prohibit requirements for Arizona utilities to produce energy from renewable sources. Rep. Carl Seel introduced the bill in response to the Arizona Corporation Commission setting an Arizona renewable energy portfolio standard of 15% by 2025.  The 15% Arizona renewable energy portfolio standard was established by an all-Republican commission in 2006.

Utilities have been charging customers for energy originating from renewable sources.  Most intend to employ renewable energy regardless of any standard or requirement imposed on them.  House Bill 2381 allows for customers to choose if they pay for renewable energy.  However, it is technically challenging to discriminate which customers are paying for renewable energy when all sources of energy feed into the same power lines.  Such a bill may be more appropriate after passing cap and trade legislation reflecting the true cost of fossil fuels.

Senate bill 1198 authored by Silvia Allen, R-Snowflake, looks to overturn the Arizona Corporation Commission's 2007 decision to permit utilities to charge their customers for line extensions to new developments.  The policy has actually held back developers and devalued land that families were planning to build on.  Senate bill 1198 supplies free line extensions to new developments but would limit the utilities' cost of any line extension at $10,000.    

The commission must protect the consumers and their policy prevents rate increases.  If utilities can still charge a separate tariff for line extensions, then they won't have to roll those expenses into future rates, thus increasing customers' monthly bills.

These two bills being introduced will change the shape of renewable energy in Arizona.  The two public agencies appear to be in a standoff and if they end up suing each other over who has ultimate authority in this matter, then Arizona's renewable energy portfolio standard will be very much jeopardized. 

Rich Hessler, Principal
[email protected]

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