A new political action committee in Arizona Yes on AZ Solar filed late last week to preserve net metering in the state. The new organization, which is supported by the solar industry and renewable energy advocates, including SolarCity and Energy Choice for America, filed paperwork to place a constitutional amendment known as the Arizona Solar Energy Freedom Act on the state’s November ballot.
“The Arizona Solar Energy Freedom Act guarantees electric utility customers the benefit of full retail net metering by requiring electric utilities regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission to interconnect with customers that generate electricity with solar power,” states the petition filed with the state. “Those customers that deliver excess solar power back to the electric utility must be credited for that power at the same retail price the electric utility charges those customers. This act prohibits discrimination against solar customers by prohibiting discriminatory rates, excessive fixed charges, new demand charges or other unfair terms of service that undermine the benefits of full retail net metering.”
The petition is a salvo to protect net metering in the state as it comes under attack from utilities and industries like fossil fuel companies. For instance Arizona’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, was previously granted the ability to impose a fee on its solar net-metered customers.
The new organization, Energy Choice for America, is headed by Kris Mayes, former chairwoman of the Arizona Corporation Commission under former Gov. Janet Napolitano (D). Mayes is leaving her position as director of an energy council at Arizona State University to head the campaign.
She has her work cut out for her. According to AZ Central, for the proposed amendment to the state constitution to get on the ballot, supporters must gain 225,963 signatures by early July.
"We believe Arizonans have the right to decide this issue for themselves," the newspaper reported Mayes as saying. "Do we want to be the solar capital of the world? Do we want the right to produce our own power? Arizonans will overwhelmingly say, yes, we do. Solar is part of who we are as Arizonans. This will enshrine that fact in the Constitution."Tweet