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APS requests $16 monthly grid fee increase for new solar customers

PHOENIX — Arizona Public Service asked Thursday for the power grid access charge for new solar customers to be raised from about $5 to $21 per month.

The Arizona Corporation Commission initially set the fee at $0.70 per kilowatt in 2013 while planning to raise the rate eventually. The new fee of $3 per kilowatt would only apply to new solar customers. Older customers would be grandfathered in.

The fee helps APS maintain the power grid and covers the homeowners for cloudy days when panels do not produce as much power. The utility said the new rate will not result in additional revenue.

“The growth of rooftop solar doesn’t lessen the need for the grid,” APS Chairman, President and CEO Don Brandt said in a release. “In fact, it’s just the opposite.”

New owners can opt to remove the grid access fee. Their rate will then be demand-based.

About 30,000 of APS’ 1.2 million customers use solar power.