As promised, SolarCity Corp. has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. States District Court for the District of Arizona, asking the court to stop Arizona utility Salt River Project's (SRP) pricing plan on the grounds that it constitutes anti-competitive behavior.
SRP is a not-for-profit public power utility that serves customers in the Greater-Phoenix area.
SolarCity says its suit specifically pertains to SRP's most recent pricing plan, which was approved by its board on Feb 26. Along with a rate increase, the plan adds a fee for residential customers who, after Dec. 8, 2014, have added solar or other technologies to generate some of their energy. The plan also grandfathers SRP customers with existing rooftop solar power systems from the fee for up to 20 years from the time the system was installed.
According to the Arizona Republic, the fee will add about $50 to the average solar customer's monthly bill. SRP justifies the fee as necessary to recover costs of grid infrastructure that solar customers make use of but otherwise avoid by lowering their electric bills through the use of their solar energy systems.
SolarCity says that after the effective date for the solar fee, applications for new rooftop solar energy systems in SRP territory dropped by 96%.