I read this article three times to see if it made any sense, and it still does not, except as an incredibly ballsy attempt by a member in good standing of the corporate state to get more revenues out of its customers by government fiat.
A major shift in business is occurring at Arizona Public Service Co. and other regulated utilities in the state.
APS, Southwest Gas and other utilities are beginning to ask regulators to "decouple" their prices from the volume of their sales, which proponents said will encourage conservation.
If approved by the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, decoupling would allow APS to collect a certain amount of revenue per customer regardless of how much energy was sold.
It would wipe out utilities' incentive to sell more power and be akin to a fast-food restaurant paying loyal customers to go on a diet.
Wow, what a fabulous business concept! It's obviously a holdover from some horrible past wherein we pay for services based on, you know, actually getting those services. End the tyranny of giving consumers something in return for their money! In the modern corporate state, everyone knows a corporation earns revenue in proportion to how much influence it has with the government, and how much that government can be cajoled to let the company take by fiat from consumers. Silly old me, actually charging people in my business for camping when they actually camp. I should have been running to the government to get them to let me charge everyone in the country whether they camp or not. By all means, let's let McDonald's decouple taking your money from actually giving you a Big Mac in return.
Seriously, beyond the fact that this concept is obscene, it makes zero sense even against its stated goal of conservation. They are basically talking about shifting the consumer's marginal cost for electricity to zero. How in the hell is that going to spur conservation? Charge me the same amount each month for gas whether I drive or not, and that is going to cause me to drive less??
Apparently, in the weird mental world of utilities, conservation only results form utility subsidies of efficient appliances. So the big benefit here is utilities can somehow better afford their subsidies for more efficient appliances. Left unexplained is why anyone would want to buy even a subsidized such device once their marginal cost for electricity goes to zero. This is such a typical government-think, assigning much more value to government intervention and choice of winners in balancing supply and demand than they do to the operation of markets and prices.
Here is an idea -- just freaking stop subsidizing this stuff. See, problem solved. We now no longer need a new pricing model. Either a conservation makes sense for the end user to invest in or it doesn't. Here is an example they cite
An example of how APS promotes efficiency is found at the 250-student Metropolitan Arts Institute in Phoenix, which replaced $23,000 in lights last year. APS contributed $20,000 to the project.
The school said it saves about $2,000 a month in energy costs with the new lights and recovered its costs for the project in two months.
The new lights use less energy and produce less heat, reducing the air-conditioning needed.
Why the hell is our utility using my money to subsidize this particular institution? If the numbers are right, the investment, without a subsidy has a 12-month payback. Very respectable. So why does this even need to be subsidized in the first place? Why is my money needed to give the Arts Institute a 1.5 month payback instead of a 12-month payback?
This is a total ripoff. I can't possibly believe they are even considering giving this to these guys.