California utilities paying APS to accept solar electricity

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

As California utilities increase their solar power generating capacity, they are increasingly discovering they have too much electricity in their grids. The result is a boon for utilities like Arizona Public Service, which is taking the excess power and getting paid to do it.

"They've just got too much," said Brad Albert, who is the general manager of resource management for APS. Albert says this phenomenon tends to occur in the spring, during sunny days when the demand is lower in California and the solar power output is high.

"They're actually paying us to take their energy," said Albert. "It would be like it you walked into the grocery store, picked up a gallon of milk and they said, 'Please take my gallon of milk and here's five dollars,'" he said.

It's called "negative power prices" and it is good news for APS, which has an entire team of buyers, and sellers whose job is to buy energy when it's cheap and sell it when it's expensive. And cheaper prices for the utility could also mean cheaper bills for its customers.

The best way to take advantage is to use your appliances and pre-cool your home before 3 p.m. when energy prices tend to be cheaper.

The utility will also make an adjustment to its customers' bills each year, based on the price of generating its electricity. If there are more negative price days, that cost will be lower and the adjustment to customers' bills will rise less or even drop.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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