SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As Arizona utility APS falls deeper into scandal after lying about funding dark money organizations to attack rooftop solar, the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) today called on utility trade organization Edison Electric Institute (EEI) to disavow APS' underhanded behavior and state whether or not they have also used dark money. This call comes as EEI joined the APS cause with its own series of television and radio ads attacking rooftop solar in Arizona.
The Arizona Republic revealed recently that APS lied repeatedly about funneling money to anti-solar public relations, advertising, and fake grassroots efforts via dark money channels. The utility pushed money to Washington DC-based front groups 60 Plus and Prosper HQ through political consultant Sean Noble, named a "dark money maestro" in a Republic column. Groups run by Noble face millions of dollars in penalties for failing to disclose political contributions during California's 2012 election.
"APS lied to regulators and the public for months," said Bryan Miller, co-Chair of TASC and Vice President of Public Policy and Power Markets for Sunrun. "EEI should give a firm 'yes' or 'no' on their own use of dark money, and whether or not they endorse APS' tactics."
Following APS' lies, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Robert Burns requested an investigation of whether the utility used ratepayer funds for the campaigns. A Q3 earnings call reported that APS spent $9 million on anti-solar and anti-retail competition campaigns.
EEI represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Even before EEI released its own anti-solar ads, the Arizona Capitol Times reported that the organization was secretly shopping stories to local media that would benefit APS' cause.
APS is trying to eliminate net metering because they – and other utilities – see rooftop solar as a threat to their monopoly. In place in 43 states, net metering gives solar customers fair credit for the excess electricity they send to the grid for the utility to sell to other customers. Studies in states including Arizona, California, Colorado, and Vermont have shown that net-metered rooftop solar delivers a benefit to all utility ratepayers, solar and non-solar alike.
About The Alliance for Solar Choice The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) advocates for maintaining successful distributed solar energy policies, such as retail net metering, throughout the United States. Retail net metering (NEM) provides fair credit to residents, businesses, churches, schools, and other public agencies when their solar systems export excess energy to the grid. The organization was formed on the belief that anyone should have the option to switch from utility power to distributed solar power, and realize the financial benefits therein. The rooftop solar market has been largely driven by Americans' desire to assert control over their electric bills, a trend that should be encouraged. TASC Member companies include REC Solar, SolarCity, Solar Universe Sungevity, Sunrun, and Verengo.