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Arizona Utility Violated Antitrust Law With Price Hikes For Solar Panel Users

 |  February 1, 2022

A federal appeals court has ruled that an Arizona utility company can be held liable for violations of antitrust laws after it charged its customers higher rates for electricity if they chose to install solar panels on their rooftops, reported Democracy Now.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found evidence that the Salt River Project utility company structured its pricing to unlawfully thwart competition from solar energy systems. Some Salt River Project customers in Phoenix saw their electricity prices rise by more than 60% after they installed solar panels on their homes.

The case will go back to a trial judge, who will determine what the damages are to Salt River Project rooftop solar customers.

Salt River Project used to offer a net metering system that gave rooftop solar owners credit for excess power they generated. But in 2014, the utility adopted a new pricing plan that said “solar customers who still need to be hooked up to the utility for times when solar is not available can be charged up to 65% more than under prior plans. Yet at the same time, rates for non-solar customers went up about 3.9%.”

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