SRP Board and Solar Energy

THE CASE FOR MORE SOLAR POWER IN LD 18

My name is Mark Mulligan. My wife Toni Ramsey and I are both native Arizonans and have lived in Tempe/LD 18 since 2000. In 2012, I had solar panels installed on my roof because I believed it would help my pocketbook and also help the environment. In fact, the solar panels do save us about $1500/year on our electricity bill and we generate about 54% of the power we consume.


But in 2015, Salt River Project threatened to eliminate our savings with a new mandatory rate plan for existing and new customers wanting solar power. Luckily, on the last day of a 3 month long public process, the SRP Board grandfathered existing solar power customers, allowing us to keep our existing rate plans. Unfortunately, they did enact a mandatory rate plan for new solar power customers that eliminates the return on investment for the majority of new solar power installations. Installations have plummeted 80% as a result1. This translates into SRP unilaterally taking away your choice to install solar power on your home, even as prices for the technology have fallen dramatically in recent years.

I think this is wrong. I would like to see my LD 18 neighbors, and all Arizonans, have the opportunity to install rooftop solar power and generate their own electricity from our abundant sunshine. Doing so will help their own pocket books, create jobs, while also helping the environment and climate.

On a related note, it is a bit shocking to learn that contrary to SRP’s extensive green advertising touting their concern for the environment, the reality is that SRP generates a scant less than 1% of its own power from solar.

Graphic credit: Sheila Motomatsu, Dennis Burke, both candidates running for the SRP Board

It seems very misguided to ignore a free energy source-a fusion reactor in the sky (our sun)-that has plenty of fuel and requires no maintenance. We can harness this free energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels with their negative and costly externalities including air pollution, greenhouse gas contributions, mining damage, and fuel transportation accidents.

Don’t get me wrong. SRP has done great things for the Valley over the last 100 years. SRP’s harnessing of the Salt River to minimize floods and provide a year-round reliable water supply enabled the valley to grow immensely in the 20th century. And SRP is a leader in providing low cost, reliable electrical power. But it is time for SRP to show energy leadership for the next 100 years. That is why I volunteered to help two clean energy minded candidates get elected to the SRP Board in 2016. And it is why I am helping five more new “clean energy” candidates running for the SRP Board, election being held April 3. The SRP election is a little known, special election. If you want to vote in SRP’s election, you must request a ballot from SRP. To request a ballot, check out the five qualified clean energy candidates, donate, or even volunteer with me, check out their website: http://srpcleanenergy.org

1) SRP Solar Installation data:
http://arizonagoessolar.org/UtilityPrograms/SaltRiverProject.aspx

Happy New Year, 2018!

Enjoy this video from the LD18 Democrats’ Holiday Party!

This video was recorded at a self service photo booth during the LD18 Democrats Holiday Party, 2017. The final editing was done by Kate Tice. A special thanks to Alex Hinton for helping people at the photo booth during the party.

School vouchers hurt…

The Arizona State Legislature is preparing to reconvene in a few short weeks. In its last session, the legislature passed SB1431, expanding school vouchers (called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts) to all schoolchildren in Arizona. Vouchers take money out of public school budgets and give taxpayer dollars to individual families to subsidize private school education.

Last summer, more than 111,000 Arizonans said, “Not so fast!” and signed petitions successfully halting voucher expansion by referring the bill to voters in November 2018. Save Our Schools Arizona is leading a rally at the State Capitol on January 6, two days before the Governor’s State of the State address, to demand that the state government prioritize public education.

Sadly, Arizona’s schools are critically underfunded — and our lawmakers have no plan to fix that.

The statistics about public education in Arizona are shocking: 49th in the nation in per-pupil spending, third largest class sizes, 51st worst state to be a teacher. We already know that vouchers will harm our kids and destroy our public schools. Here are some of the ways that vouchers hurt our kids, schools, and state:

Vouchers Hurt Kids.

Our kids deserve the highest quality teachers and schools. When ESA vouchers divert funds to well-off private schools, it harms the 95% of Arizona families who choose public schools.

Vouchers Hurt Classrooms.

ESA vouchers will pull millions of dollars from our classrooms each year. Our classrooms are already overcrowded and underfunded. We cannot allow one more cent to leave our public classrooms to fund private schools.

Vouchers Hurt Taxpayers.

As taxpayers, we trust our state to spend our tax dollars wisely. Spending public dollars on private school entitlements makes no economic sense. We taxpayers also want to know where our tax dollars are going — and with ESA vouchers there is little cost transparency.

Vouchers Hurt Neighborhoods.

When we fail to invest in our neighborhood schools, property values decrease and crime increases. ESA voucher programs take money from our local communities and shift it to the wealthiest areas. Arizonans want our state to protect our homes, schools, and communities.

Vouchers Hurt Special Needs Students.

Save Our Schools Arizona supports the ESA voucher program for special needs students as it’s currently configured. Expanding ESA vouchers to all students would mean that children with special needs no longer have priority.

Vouchers Hurt Rural Areas.

Rural schools will receive little to no benefit from the ESA voucher program, since our rural communities have few private schools. However, these rural schools will have to sacrifice their funds to the ESA voucher program just like any other school.

Vouchers Hurt the Economy.

Businesses want to set up shop where they’ll find a well-educated workforce and excellent public schools for their employees’ families. As Arizona has stopped investing in its public schools, businesses have stopped choosing Arizona. ESA vouchers will only add to the problem.

Please join thousands of your fellow Arizonans at the March to Save Our Schools on  January 6 at the Arizona State Capitol. This is a family-friendly event, with bounce houses, music, face painting, and other fun activities. Come to celebrate our public schools, and show your support for our teachers and children. Sponsored by Save Our Schools Arizona, AZ PTA, AZ Schools Now, and Children’s Action Alliance. 9:00-10:00: Food trucks, bounce houses, face painting, sign making. 10:00-10:30 Remarks from guest speakers. 10:30-11:30: March to Save Our Schools.