Tesla and utility agree to end suit over fees

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Tesla unit and an Arizona utility have voluntarily agreed to end an antitrust lawsuit over solar installation fees.

The companies yesterday filed a document with the Supreme Court stipulating dismissal of the case, which Tesla Energy Operations Inc. brought against the Phoenix-based Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District in 2015. They agreed to bear their own costs.

Tesla’s suit claimed that solar installation fees imposed by the utility hurt it and its customers, lowering demand for panels. SRP argued that, as a local government entity, it should have been immune from the antitrust suit.

In December, the Supreme Court agreed to step in and decide whether SRP could immediately appeal a lower court’s decision to reject its motion to dismiss the case.

Yesterday’s notice from the companies comes after they announced earlier this month that they had reached a memorandum of understanding that they hoped would lead to a settlement.

Under the agreement, SRP would purchase a battery storage system from Tesla and give customers incentives for home energy storage systems. SRP also agreed to put in place a pilot pricing program for solar and non-solar customers that it says would limit the effect of unusual spikes in demand on billing (Greenwire, March 8).

The Supreme Court in response postponed arguments that had been scheduled for this week to its April sitting (Greenwire, March 12).

The companies have not released details of the final settlement. An SRP spokesman did not respond to a request for comment this morning.