For years, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has been the stomping ground for the left to push its Green New Deal Agenda. In fact, it was just over two years ago when the commission quietly released its plan to impose California-style energy mandates in our state. Their goal was to ban fossil fuels and require most electricity companies to provide “clean” energy by 2050. Thankfully, the commission voted down these energy mandates in January 2022. But that hasn’t stopped the left from trying to find other ways to exploit the ACC.
One of their latest efforts has centered on Tucson, where they tried to push Prop 412 to create a taxpayer slush fund for Green New Deal pet projects. After a concerted effort to fight back with facts and inform the people of Tuson about what Prop 412 would mean for them, it was defeated. But the left wasn’t done yet.
As part of its Green New Deal agenda, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) also asked the ACC for rate hikes to subsidize electric vehicles (EV) that strain the grid and increase the risk of blackouts. TEP has been offering owners of electric vehicles (and them only) special, low electricity rates. They also give EV owners an additional five percent reduction for certain surcharges, just for owning an EV. These artificially low rates are to encourage EV owners to charge their cars overnight because TEP worries that charging during the day will crash the grid and cause blackouts.
This is not only unreasonable, but it’s unfair. Non-EV owners should never be forced to subsidize the cost of EVs or pay for incentives that attempt to protect the grid from the strain EVs put on it.
That’s why Commissioner Nick Myers proposed several amendments to the proposed rate hike to roll back subsidies for EVs. And the Free Enterprise Club helped lead the charge to get several TEP customers to email and show up at the commission hearing to oppose the EV subsidies.
While TEP did end up getting a rate hike, eight amendments from Commissioner Myers were adopted, resulting in a reduced rate increase for TEP customers. Among the amendments adopted were:
- An elimination of the unfair subsidy benefiting EV owners.
- A requirement to refund customers any unused Demand-Side Management Surcharge funds remaining after December 31, 2023.
- A modification of TEP’s rate plans to encourage off-peak vehicle charging.
Because of these efforts, the estimated bill increase for TEP customers will be lower than originally proposed. And that’s a big win for ratepayers. After all, if someone wants to own an electric vehicle, it is within their right to do so. But EV owners should be the ones responsible for paying for the costs associated with the necessary infrastructure improvements. And they certainly should be paying for any excessive demand placed on the grid—not getting discounted rates.
Now, ratepayers in Tucson will have a little less money taken from their wallets, and this victory is another example of why it’s so important to stay informed, get involved, and fight back.
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