Salt River Project Public Hearing – Testimony of Diane E. Brown on Energy Efficiency

Media Contacts
Diane E. Brown

Arizona PIRG Education Fund

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.  My name is Diane E. Brown.   I am a customer of SRP willing to pay more for energy efficiency and I am the Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.  The Arizona PIRG Education Fund conducts research and education on public interest issues.

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund recognizes the magnitude of the economic situation in Arizona and across the nation is daunting and that SRP, as well as businesses and residents in its territory, is feeling the effects. 

I am here today on behalf of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and particularly our members that are SRP customers to urge the SRP board to adopt and SRP management to implement an Energy Efficiency Standard of at least 20% by 2020.  Today, I am also providing letters from organizations and individuals who were unable to attend today’s meeting but also support this Standard and want their views to be expressed. 

The heading on this recent SRP ad states “Our Customers Said ‘Not Now’….”  While it would be hard to find an Arizonan that wants to pay more in monthly utility costs, it is not hard to find individuals, organizations and businesses who want SRP to increase energy efficiency programs.  Ratepayers want effective energy efficiency programs that will save businesses and consumers money on their monthly electric bill.  Ratepayers realize that energy efficiency offers an immediate, proven and important step that can be taken to create jobs and stimulate the local economy.  Ratepayers recognize that energy efficiency costs less than other resources and can help alleviate some transmission and distribution need.  In short, while SRP customers have said “no” to a rate increase, SRP customers have said “yes” to significantly increasing energy efficiency. 

As your proceedings continue, we encourage you to consider the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s Principles for the Electric System which includes:

  1. Access to safe, reliable, affordable electricity service.  The goal of electricity regulation should be to provide adequate, reliable service to consumers at the lowest cost – including external costs such as public health, economic and social impacts.
  2. Balance the long-term and short-term needs of consumers, as well as the interests of various classes of consumers.  Electricity rates should be designed to promote economically efficient and socially responsible outcomes – including energy efficiency, rate stability and the protection of low-income consumers.
  3. Consumers should be assured that the public interest guides all decisions with regard to the electric system.  System planning must take place in the public sphere, include ample opportunities for broad public participation in decision-making and ensure that the views of small consumers are adequately represented in the process.

By focusing on the effects and impacts of energy efficiency policies and not primarily on their funding or spending levels, SRP can ensure that the rate of return on energy efficiency programs is a good sound investment for SRP ratepayers.  Instituting yearly energy efficiency program ramp-ups, benchmarks, and evaluation open to the public provides accessibility and accountability too often buried in bureaucracy.

With a brown cloud all too often hanging over Phoenix, anticipated population growth in our state generating additional energy and water demands, high asthma and other respiratory illness rates attributed in part to current nonrenewable energy sources, energy efficiency is a clean and healthy solution for SRP ratepayers.   

In conclusion, like many other SRP customers, it is easier to write a check if I know my money is being spent wisely – energy efficiency is a smart investment.  By committing to energy efficiency as your priority resource and increasing effective energy efficiency programs for SRP to at least 20% by 2020, we will be on the way to an Energy Efficient Arizona.  Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment.