By Vin Nitido, Trico CEO and GM
As I discussed in my June Livewire column, on November 6 you will be asked to make an important decision regarding our energy and environmental future. Proposition 127 is a State ballot initiative that would amend the Arizona Constitution to require affected electric utilities like Trico to provide at least 50% of their annual sales of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Ten percent of energy would have to come from distributed renewable energy, like rooftop solar.
As your Member-owned energy provider, we want to provide you with all the information we can, so that you can make an informed decision. From my own perspective, there are both benefits and challenges associated with the initiative. The initiative would help to promote environmental benefits associated with renewable resources and would be a step toward addressing global climate change. It would likely stimulate growth in new technologies relating to renewable generation, battery storage and energy management, potentially driving the cost of those technologies down. On the other hand, the initiative would only apply to electric utilities that are regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (regulated utilities serve about 62% of Arizona’s electric customers, the largest exception being Salt River Project in Phoenix). It will probably cost our Members more over the long-term. Our preliminary estimate is that the average residential monthly bill would increase over time, up to $40 by 2030. A 50% renewable energy portfolio would present energy management and reliability issues that need to be addressed as the initiative is implemented.
These are just some of the things you may want to consider as you decide how to vote on the initiative. Again, Trico represents a Membership with diverse viewpoints and needs. We are not advocating for or against Prop. 127, but we want to provide you with accurate, reliable information to help you decide how to vote. To that end, in early September we will launch a special section on our website about Prop. 127 and Trico’s renewable energy strategy. The section will include information about the costs and benefits of the initiative, along with frequently asked questions and responses which will be updated over time as we hear from you. If you have the time, please take the survey about the initiative here.
However you feel about Prop. 127, we encourage you to get out and vote in November.