Arizona Municipal Aggregation Proponents: Model Where Utility Continues To Supply Standard Offer Service A "Better Fit" Than Model Removing Utility From Supply Role
Says Limiting Residential Choice To Municipal Aggregation Has, "Less Risk And Better Consumer Protections"
March 6, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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A number of environmental and renewable energy advocacy groups and individuals representing the solar industry around Arizona, who support municipal aggregation, filed a letter (hereafter, "CCA letter") with the Arizona Corporation Commission stating that the "Draft B" rules for electric customer choice, under which utilities would continue to provide a standard offer supply service, are a "better fit" for the state that the "Draft A" rules, which would remove utilities from any supply role after a brief transition period
The CCA letter, which supported "community choice energy (CCE)", was dated February 5, but docketed in Docket RE-00000A-18-0405 on March 4, included about two dozen signatories, including Shelly Gordon; Duane Ediger, Sustainable Tucson; Brandon Cheshire, President, Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association; Douglas Fant, Southwestern Power Group; Sonny Rock, Arizona Wholesale Solar; Nancy Thias, Environmental Defense Fund; and Lauren Kuby, Tempe City Council, among others
Notable is that the signatories included Neil Saunders, Design Engineer, Climate Energy and Sustainability Commissioner, City of Tucson
The CCA letter said that, "we believe elements of option B offer a better fit for Arizona."
In particular, the CCA letter said that, under Draft "B", "The utility would be able to continue offering standard service to customers who do not participate in a CCE."
The CCA letter further said that, "Option B potentially provides less risk and better consumer protections since
individual residential customers would not participate unless they are aggregated
through a city or county under a contract with well-vetted terms."
"As the Commission prepares to lay a new foundation for energy markets in Arizona, we urge it
to learn from other states' successes and mistakes. We believe a balanced analysis of benefits
and impacts, and a commitment to uphold the public interest will point toward giving local and
regional elected bodies the authority to determine when and how to transition from existing power procurement protocols to those that will better respond to the needs of energy
customers. We suggest that Option B, with amendments, will further this aim better than
Option A," the CCA letter said
The CCA letter touted that, "CCEs are structured as nonprofit public entities that are governed locally to serve local
customers. They allow for local control over power supply through access to the wholesale
energy market. So instead of pouring revenues into gold-plate salaries and shareholder profits,
any gains realized by the CCE are re-invested back into the community in the form of local
energy generation projects."
The CCA letter recommended a separate CCE docket, "to iron out specific details going forward."
An original copy of the letter filed with the ACC had erroneously included Direct Energy as a signatory; however, Direct Energy confirmed that it was not a signatory to the letter. An update striking Direct Energy from the signatory portion of the letter was filed with the ACC on March 5.
On February 21, Direct Energy had filed comments with the ACC concerning the draft rules. In such February 21 comments to the ACC, Direct Energy had said that, "Direct Energy supports the option developed under Draft A," (under which, after a brief transition period, utilities would not serve as default suppliers) and that, "Direct Energy does not believe that the utilities should remain in the business of providing retail service as Arizona moves to a competitive market as permitted in Draft B."