Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Regulation, Utilities - May 30, 2017
Arizona utility halts energy efficiency rebate program
Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power Co. has halted an energy efficiency rebate program for commercial energy users after running out of funding for the incentives, the Arizona Daily Star reported May 29.
The newspaper said the program is one that is mandated by the Arizona Corporation Commission as part of the state's broader energy efficiency goals. However, due to a shortfall in this year's program funds, Tucson Electric made the decision to stop offering the rebates until 2018, when new funding will be available.
For now, the utility is no longer accepting new applications for its commercial or multi-housing energy efficiency incentives, according to the Daily Star. The decision has reportedly ruffled the feathers of local nonprofit organization Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, also known as SWEEP, which had been a proponent of the rebate program. A spokesman for SWEEP told the newspaper that a number of the utility's customers have been left hanging in the balance with energy efficiency projects undertaken with the expectation of utilizing the incentives.
"Customers who have been paying into the program for years are not able to get service now, so there’s a problem there,"Jeff Schlegel, an Arizona representative for SWEEP told the Daily Star. "There's little doubt demand is there — TEP in its message to customers said the suspension of the commercial programs was 'due to strong customer interest.'"
A representative from the utility offered a different perspective, telling the Daily Star, "[I]f this was a home budget, you could say it was an effort to live within our means."
Tucson Electric is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc.