$64 Million Decrease Lowers Overall Average Annual Prices by 2.2 percent
By Scott Harelson
Following an extensive 3-month public process, Salt River Project’s publicly-elected Board of Directors today approved changes in price plans, effective with the May billing cycle, that include an overall average annual price decrease of 2.2 percent. The $64 million overall decrease in prices is a result of a reduction in fuel expenses and a modest increase in base prices. The approved decrease will vary by customer type and price plan.
The price reduction incorporates and is in addition to decreases SRP implemented on a temporary basis in 2018. The new price changes will appear on bills beginning with the May 2019 billing cycle. On average, SRP residential customers will experience a decrease of about $1.78 per month in their electric bill, although individual customer experiences will vary by price plan and the way they use energy.
According to SRP General Manager and CEO Mike Hummel, SRP has been able to keep prices stable for the past four years through prudent operations and management, strategic resource acquisitions and taking advantage of market conditions that have allowed SRP to generate a greater share of energy using lower-cost natural gas. Hummel added that because natural gas prices are projected to remain low, SRP can continue to pass those savings on directly to its more than 1 million customers.
While more than offset by a decrease in fuel expenses, the approved change in prices reflects a modest increase in base prices that will address investments needed to maintain reliability in the face of customer growth, support SRP’s commitment to increasing sustainable resources and adding new technologies such as battery storage, and reflect the shorter depreciable lives of SRP’s coal generation assets.
“The Board thoughtfully and deliberately discussed or debated a number of different issues during this very public process before agreeing on this overall price reduction,” said SRP President David Rousseau. “Ultimately, each Board member voted for what they believe is in the best interests of SRP’s more than 1 million customers they were elected to represent.”
“Deliberating pricing measures for SRP customers is one of the most important responsibilities of SRP’s Board,” said Hummel. “I want to thank the Board for demonstrating their commitment to our customers with their engagement and ideas throughout the process.”
In addition to an overall reduction in prices, the Board approved a one-hour reduction in summer on-peak hours for some price plans from 1 – 8 p.m. to 2 – 8 p.m. Also approved are additional pricing options for residential customers who produce some of their own energy using rooftop solar or other technologies, including two non-demand time-of-use price plans and an average daily demand price plan. In a separate action, management committed to increase SRP’s current battery storage program incentive from $150 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $300 per kWh of storage capacity, up to a maximum of $3,600 per system. The doubling of the incentive will be capped at 4,500 installations.
In addition, the Board approved a significant increase in SRP’s Bill Assistance program. Beginning this year, SRP will increase the amount they match to the SHARE program (Services to Help Arizonans with Relief on Energy) to a minimum of $500,000 annually for five years. SRP partners with the Salvation Army to provide energy assistance to those in need through SHARE by matching one-time or recurring donations made by SRP customers. In addition, SRP will increase the credit provided to limited income customers in the Economy Discount Rider to $23 for every month and will increase the separate SRP Bill Assistance program qualification requirement from 150 percent to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline.
Detailed information about the pricing changes can be found by visiting www.srpprices.com.
Photo courtesy of SRP