Arizona utility requests rate hike for new solar customers

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's largest electricity utility is proposing a rate increase for new solar customers.

Arizona Public Service Co. asked state regulators Thursday to raise the current $5 monthly "grid access charge" approved in 2013 for new solar customers to $21.

Critics say the proposal slams the industry by reducing the incentive for installing solar panels, while APS contends it levels the playing field for all customers who connect to the grid.

APS called the proposal an interim step that "would not fully resolve the cost shift" to non-solar customers.

If approved, the new APS fees would take effect in August.

Salt River Project has imposed a $50 monthly charge for new solar customers.

APS said about 8,000 customers installed solar panels in 2014. It has total of 30,000 solar customers currently.