Utility company asks for rate hike for solar power users

A battle is heating up between utility company Arizona Public Service and Valley solar companies.

APS wants a fee hike for solar users.

If you've been thinking about having solar panels installed, you could be paying the utility company more in the near future.

APS has asked state utility regulators to bump up grid access fees.

The current fee is $5 a month, and APS is requesting that the Corporation Commission raise the fee to $21 a month for future solar customers.

APS officials say current solar customers would keep their rates until at least 2016. That is when the Arizona Corporation Commission is expected to address rate changes.

"These charges now are about fairness for all customers, if a customer is going to be using the grid then it makes sense that they pay their fair share," said Marc Romito with APS.

Many rooftop solar companies say the fees are not fair.

"They don't like rooftop solar, they don't like competition, they are working on a business plan that is a dinosaur," said Barry Goldwater Jr.

Goldwater Jr. is with the group "Tell Utilities Solar Won't be Killed" or TUSK. They say APS is stifling a growing business.

"They want to tax the sun; we ought to be in the leadership of solar energy. We are declining because utilities are putting fees on taxes and regulation, they are killing the industry," he said.

Currently, APS has about 32,000 customers with solar, one million without.
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