Screen shot from www.unamericanelectricpower.com
Alliance for Solar Choice launches campaign against utility's stance
An advocate for rooftop solar power is taking shots at American Electric Power.
The Alliance for Solar Choice is behind a website,www.unamericanelectricpower.com, and a billboard truck that was in Columbus on Tuesday to promote the site. The group says that AEP is using “shady tactics all over the country to stifle competition and job-creating industries.”
AEP says the attacks are unfair and based on the narrow business interests of the companies that sponsor the solar group.
This is part of a national battle involving several large utilities over whether solar-power owners should pay additional charges to cover some of their costs to be connected to the grid. The utilities say that current rates do not account for the costs not being paid by solar owners, which has the effect of transferring the costs to everyone else.
“We are advocating for a level playing field for all of our customers who use the grid,” said AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry in an email.
McHenry noted AEP’s support for solar power throughout its territory, including in Ohio, where the company has been part of solar installations at Ohio State University and Denison University, and the main customer of the state’s largest solar array in Wyandot County.
The Alliance for Solar Choice is made up of several companies that sell or operate rooftop solar systems, including SolarCity and Demeter Power. The group is criticizing AEP’s policy stances across the company’s 11-state territory.
Last year, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled that it would maintain the current system that has no special charges for solar owners. AEP has appealed this, and the case is pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.
“It’s only fair that all customers who are connected to and benefit from the electric grid help pay for it,” McHenry said.