Sullivan: SRP values different perspectives from customers, communities we serve - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Sullivan: SRP values different perspectives from customers, communities we serve

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Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013 4:58 pm | Updated: 3:53 pm, Thu Apr 25, 2013.

I would like to respond to a recent guest column, “SRP needs to provide vision and advance energy efficiency,” which appeared in this newspaper (March 29). The author makes inaccurate assertions regarding the ability of customers and stakeholders to provide meaningful input to SRP’s resource plan and more generally questions our commitment to sustainable resources.

For more than 100 years, SRP has demonstrated a commitment to conservation and to central Arizona communities. In keeping with this legacy, SRP’s Board of Directors adopted the Sustainable Portfolio Principles (SPP) in 2006 to help guide decisions regarding efficiency efforts, conservation measures and the acquisition of renewable energy resources. Currently, the SPP ensures that SRP will meet 20 percent of our retail requirements from sustainable resources by 2020. While SRP does not have separate Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Standards, we do have an ambitious energy efficiency goal within the single SPP standard, which we exceeded in Fiscal Year 2012 and are on target to exceed again in FY 2013. The structure of our standard allows us to have some flexibility in resource decisions by combining all sources of sustainable energy into a single standard, a concept our board reaffirmed in 2011. Such flexibility allows us to respond to changes in technology costs and customer usage in a manner that helps minimize overall costs.

SRP has been actively engaged in energy efficiency program management since the 1970s, and we currently offer more than 20 programs to serve our diverse customer base. Funding for these programs increased from about $49 million in FY 2012 to more than $55 million in FY 2013. To put this in context, as recently as FY 2008, annual funding for SRP energy efficiency programs totaled $10 million. New conservation options for residential customers include our Shade Tree program, Building Codes and Standards initiative and the Energy Scorecard programs.

Regarding the ability to provide input to SRP, it is our mission to deliver high-value electricity and water for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and the communities we serve. Our employees work every day to keep us on track in meeting this mission. One of the fundamental ways we do this is through engaging with our customers and the communities in our service territory and soliciting feedback.

Beyond monthly SRP board and committee meetings — which are open to the public — we host regular workshops and open houses to solicit feedback on our strategic plans and financial outlook. In 2009, SRP hosted a three-part series of “Resource Planning Workshops” that focused on different aspects of our resource planning process, providing workshop participants with an overview of our planning process and key drivers.

In 2011, SRP hosted a three-part workshop series focused on soliciting stakeholder input on modifying our SPP. The sustainable workshops contained a similarly diverse group of participants as the Resource Planning workshops and allowed stakeholders to submit questions to SRP regarding the SPP, which in turn we answered in writing and where possible during the workshops themselves. As an outcome of the stakeholder process, SRP’s board made the decision to both increase the percentage of retail requirements SRP must meet through sustainable means from 15 percent to 20 percent and reduced the time with which we have to meet this goal from FY 2025 to FY 2020.

Most recently as a part of our 2012 Pricing Process, SRP held three open houses throughout the Valley to solicit customer feedback as well as a separate public comment session with board members. In addition, SRP allocated time during the Special Board Meeting to allow for anyone who had not already commented at one of the four other sessions a chance to speak directly to our board.

Simply put, SRP values hearing the different perspectives of stakeholders and, most importantly, the customers and communities we serve. I would encourage anyone who would like to discuss any issues with SRP to go to our website and email us at www.srpnet.com/contactus/. Additionally, if social media is your preference, you can talk to us through Facebook at www.facebook.com/SRPconnect and Twitter at twitter.com/SRPconnect. We sincerely value your input.

• John Sullivan is SRP’s chief resources executive.

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