Judge Affirms Arizona Renewable Energy Fee

by | Sep 3, 2009

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solar-and-sky2An Arizona requirement that utilities get some of their electricity from renewable sources – and charge customers for it – has been upheld by a Superior Court judge.

The Sept. 2 decision preserves a monthly tariff that essentially helps fund growth of large solar installations, rooftop solar panels on businesses and other alternative-energy projects, reports the Arizona Republic.

In 2006, the state legislature passed a requirement that utilities, by 2025, get 15 percent of their electricity from renewables. The measure allows utilities to collect tariffs to help them meet the requirement.

Under the program, business customers are charged a tariff not to exceed to $117.93 a month, and industrial electricity users have a maximum tariff of $353.78. The residential cap is $3.12, according to the Republic.

The fees have been continuously challenged by the Goldwater Institute, whch asserts that elected officials don’t have the right to mandate where customers get their electricity.

However, in Judge Joseph Heilman’s opinion, he wrote: “The (renewable-energy) rules are the commission’s efforts to control costs and rates over the long run by promoting and safeguarding the security, convenience, health and safety of the affected utilities customers and the public in Arizona.”

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