Why Arizona’s Electric Bills Have Skyrocketed This Year
Rising Cost of Everything
Have you noticed how much the economy seems to be out of control right now? The cost of everything is skyrocketing, and our electric bills are no exception.
When the cost of eggs went haywire earlier this year, we could point to a bird flu outbreak and rising gas prices. International tension and snarled shipping hubs have contributed to inflated prices on everything from clothing to food to household items.
What's Causing Rising Electric Costs?
So why has our electric bill suddenly jumped up? There's chatter that Russian aggression against Ukraine is partly to blame, but what else?
You can point to a green energy mandate for at least part of the cause. Back in 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) which instituted rules that requires regulated electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.
These rules require power companies to generate electricity through the use of renewable sources like solar, wind, biomass, biogas, geothermal and other technologies. They goal, they say, is to generate "clean" energy to power Arizona's future.
These sources are said to be good for the environment, but they're not a perfect solution. A lot of these sources, solar and wind for example, depend on the weather and time of day in order to generate electricity. And they're not always reliable.
Wind and solar also requires a lot of land and infrastructure to collect energy, like solar panels and wind turbines. When weather conditions work against them, Arizona has to buy electricity from other states to make up for the deficit. In some cases, they use backup generators that run on fossil fuels. This adds to the cost and complexity of the electric grid.
Will My Electric Bill Go Up More?
These mandates require companies to change and upgrade the existing power grid. All of these new "green sources" are expensive to build and maintain. They also affect wildlife and the scenery in some areas. The Sierra Club estimates that over a million birds are killed annually when they come in contact with wind turbines.
In a word, yes. Expect an increase in your electric bill. In 2020, Arizona utility regulators approved a plan that requires utility companies to get all energy from carbon-free sources 2050.
Arizona's largest for-profit energy company, APS plans to shut down all coal generation by 2031. They're looking to generate 100 percent of its electricity from zero-carbon emission resources such as wind and solar by 2050.
As the mandates are rolled out, it virtually guarantees costs will continue to climb. We're already seeing the effects these new mandates have had on our pocketbooks. How much more is Arizona willing to shell out in order to support green energy?
Can we afford it?