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Originally published Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 05:59a.m.

On July 19 the Arizona Corporation Commission will decide if UniSource gets to impose unreasonable fees on rooftop solar power in Kingman and Lake Havasu City.

The utility’s proposal saddles Lake Havasu City and Kingman solar customers with some of the highest fees in the country for an investor-owned utility. UniSource also wants to slash the amount it pays to rooftop solar customers for the extra electricity they send back to the grid.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In the Phoenix area, Arizona Public Service reached an agreement with the rooftop solar industry. It’s not perfect, but it leaves solar viable in that part of the state. If UNS gets its way, rooftop solar would not be viable here. Why does Phoenix deserve more solar than much of Mohave County?

Rooftop solar has revolutionized the way we buy and consume energy. That revolution is just getting started. And why is this so important? Because when a monopoly utility increases its rates, the only remedy you have is to cut costs by going solar. It’s about energy choice and independence.

I hope the Corporation Commission will see uniSouce’s request for what it is; an attempt to regulate a competitor out of business and attempt to limit electricity options for ratepayers. Rooftop solar allows customers relief from utility rates that continue to rise. It’s not only good for the consumer, it also creates jobs. The impact to the environment is obvious.

A few weeks ago, the Corporation Commission, at the urging of Commissioner Andy Tobin, hit the pause button on the UNS request in order to study it further. That was the prudent thing to do and Commissioner Tobin should be applauded for his willingness to listen. The commission will revisit the issue July 19. You can have your say by contacting the Corporation Commission before the July 19 meeting.

Energy choice supporters have established a hotline to connect you to the commissioners. If you want to save solar energy in Kingman or Lake Havasu City call 928-263-8263. If you want regulators to uphold your right to save money on your electric bill call 928-263-8263. If you want to help the environment, create jobs, and preserve energy options call 928-263-8263.