- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - A major Arizona utility and big businesses that use large amounts of electricity are at odds over whether the state should change its energy-efficiency rules, the Arizona Republic reported Friday.

The Arizona Corporation Commission is mulling whether to set individual efficiency goals for every utility and drop a one-size-fits-all requirement enacted in 2010.

Arizona Public Service Co. executives say they would oppose any change, according to comments they filed with the commission.

“Energy efficiency has the potential to help reduce peak load and defer energy purchases or generation facilities, both of which can help APS provide reliable and reasonably priced electric service in Arizona,” the executives wrote.

Arizonans for Electric Choice and Competition, a group that represents companies such as Petsmart and Intel, says it supports an efficiency program with utilities but not at the current state standard. “The current rule establishes (efficiency) savings targets irrespective of the cost of achieving the prescribed targets within the time frame required by the rule,” the group wrote in comments addressed to the commission.

APS users currently pay a traffic fee that averages to roughly $2 for residential customers but much more for businesses. The monthly tariff can range from $500 for a big-box store to $4,000 for a manufacturer, the Arizona Republic reported (https://bit.ly/1Fe41EL).

Utilities are mandated by state law to conserve 22 percent of electricity sales by 2020.

APS, Tucson Electric Power Co. and other providers have implemented strategies such as rebates and subsidizing low-power light bulbs.

C. Webb Crockett, an attorney representing Arizonans for Electric Choice, said a uniform state standard doesn’t work. Utilities can’t compel less energy consumption any more than these larger companies already do.

“For a large industrial customer, energy is about the second-highest cost a company has,” Crocket said. “To the extent they can streamline a process and get as much efficiency, they are going to do it. It means dollars. You can’t squeeze anything more out of them. It is in their self-interest.”

Honeywell was a member of the group but now manufactures energy-efficient equipment. D. Romina Khananisho, a Honeywell lobbyist, said the company is not on board with changing the energy efficiency standard.

“The elimination of the rule is very concerning to Honeywell,” she said.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, https://www.azcentral.com


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