UPDATE: The plaintiffs in April 2019 filed an amended complaint that, among other changes, clarified certain costs SRP solar customers allegedly incurred, such as “demand charges” and expenses associated with purchasing storage batteries. Read the amended complaint here.
Four plaintiffs have put their names on a proposed class action lawsuit in which they claim the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP) maintains an illegal monopoly over the delivery of electricity to customers within its service territory in Arizona. According to the 41-page complaint, SRP’s anti-competitive conduct, in particular its E-27 pricing plan, aims to “eliminate solar energy competition” through a discriminatory pricing scheme by which consumers with solar energy systems have been hit with higher electricity rates. Those without solar energy systems, the case says, are subject to lower rates “for the same electricity.”
The lawsuit explains that customers with solar energy systems consume and purchase less electricity from SRP than customers without solar energy systems yet must remain on the company's grid for “supplemental electricity.” The suit claims the defendant’s discriminatory price discrepancy was put in place not for any rational reason, but as a means to “discourage further use and investment” in solar energy sources, and to push consumers to rely on SRP.
“Public policy and logic dictates that Arizona homeowners making the choice to invest in solar energy systems, an environmentally beneficial and superior choice for consumers and the general public, as well as the State of Arizona, should be rewarded through lower, or at least equal electricity rates as homeowners without solar, not penalized through discriminatory higher rates,” the lawsuit argues.