by Stacy Winstryg of the Vail Parent Network


Have you ever played Dodgeball? Thinking about it now brings back images of my 12-year-old self, fleeing rubber balls like they were hand grenades. You are supposed to grab a ball and throw it back but I was totally focused on survival. There I am, knot in my stomach, anxiety ridden, doing my best to weave and dodge… and then whack! The red rubber hits me solidly in the face. The ball that came out of nowhere. That red ball is Tucson Electric Power.


In the 18 months since the creation of the Vail Parent Network, we have worked to stop any initiative that takes money out of classrooms. We have “kept our eyes on every ball,” then whack­– the TEP rate increase comes out of nowhere and hits us on the side of the face.


In a nutshell, TEP is asking the Corporation Commission for permission to change the way they charge for electricity. They are proposing a “Peak Rate” model that will be a huge rate increase for schools and for many residential customers.


Currently, people and organizations are charged for the energy they use. The peak rate model charges based on peak usage. A home typically uses the most energy in the evening hours when everyone comes home and turns on the TV, runs the dishwasher, starts dinner, etc. TEP is proposing charging for that highest level of usage as if it is being used at that level all day long. The reasoning is that they need enough “bandwidth” to accommodate everyone running at peak usage at the same time.


Schools are in an even worse position with all the lights, HVAC, projectors, computers, etc. starting up every morning. They also want to charge a service charge for those with solar, increasing the cost for schools with solar up to 250%.


Where is the likely 1 million plus dollars per year this increase will cost come from? Out of the same bucket we use to pay teachers, buy textbooks, fix busses, etc.


But you can do something! The Corporation Commission has to approve the proposal before the rate increase goes into effect. They are taking comments at the following link.

Docket # E-01933A-15-0332


We encourage everyone to comment and let them know the proposal is not acceptable.



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Lucretia Free