For the past couple of weeks I’ve been tied up preparing for a hearing of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on a rate hike package requested by the local power company, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC). I’ve written before about how they were trying to raise the rates on folks like me who have solar panels by crazy amounts, and how a group of us have been fighting this. Back in May I went up to Tucson to testify at a hearing on the case run by an administrative law judge.
Earlier this month, Judge Martin finally released her “Recommended Opinion and Order” (ROO). We were delighted to see that she largely sided with those of us who opposed what SSVEC wanted to do.
But there was one more step in the process. The ROO is a recommendation, not the final decision. That has to be made by the ACC and last Thursday, it was item #33 on a 34 item hearing agenda. So I spent the week working on a statement that I wanted to deliver in person. The Commission sets an official limit of 3 minutes per public speaker but fortunately they’re flexible on the time. It’s hard–make that impossible–to say everything that needs saying in 3 minutes. But they need to set limits or folks will ramble on and on and on and….
So I headed up to Phoenix after lunch. By the time I got to the Commission’s building, they were on item #31. Whew! Just in time.
About an hour later, it was show time. Two other folks spoke, I got my licks in, and then lawyers for the co-op and the officially recognized opponent organization, the Energy Freedom Coalition of America, and the Commission staff had their says, basically repeating the same arguments they’ve been making for months. Sigh.
After about 45 minutes of that, the Commission Chairman called for the vote. There were a few minor amendments to the ROO offered by the Commissioners; they were accepted. The vote, with NO discussion, was unanimous to adopt the amended ROO, which gave SSVEC nothing of what they wanted regarding we rooftop solar owners. YAY!
After the first of the year, we’ll all head off to a second phase of this case that will focus on rooftop solar, so this thing is far from done.
I left the Commission building about six thinking that I might as well make the 3-hour drive back home. No need to stay the night if I didn’t have to, right? (I really expected that this case would be heard on Friday.) So I called my hotel to cancel my reservation, only to discover I’d passed the cancellation deadline. Well, dang. If I’m going to spend the money, might as well use the room, right?
Little did I know that some sleazeball was going to break a window on the south patio that night and go through all the closets, cabinets, and drawers in the bedrooms (only the bedrooms, fortunately) looking for jewelry to steal. All he or they got, as far as I’ve been able to tell, was my dad’s wedding ring and a couple of watches I don’t use. Still….
I was too rattled to take any pictures of the broken window, but here’s a shot of it now that it’s boarded up.
The window company’s working on getting the replacement glass, the county sheriff sent a deputy out to take a report, the insurance company’s been notified, and the whole neighborhood is buzzing because this was the second such break-in here in less than two weeks.
Definitely a good news/bad news kind of deal but the good news is pretty good and the bad news could have been FAR worse.