NewsLocal NewsInvestigations

Actions

SRP election to determine who sets rates underway

SRP power lines.jpg
Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 22:50:48-04

PHOENIX — If you get your power from the Salt River Project (SRP) you may be able to have a say in who sets the rates.

The election to choose members to sit on the Board of Directors has been underway since March 9, but it is a process that has historically had a poor turnout.

But SRP customer Jim Moule pays very close attention.

He's lived in his Tempe home for 22 years and said he pays less in power bills today than he did we he first bought it after installing energy-efficient appliances, windows, and shading plants.

"It's about the planet," he told ABC15. "It's about man putting so much stuff in the air that it's causing global warming."

Moule is so passionate in 2020 he decided to run for a seat on the board, hoping to push for clean energy generation options more quickly.

He fully expected to lose. And he did. But he said the point wasn't to win, "I expected to challenge the system," he said.

That system is the process by which the 14 people who determine SRP's rates and resources are chosen. There is an election, but it is complicated.

SRP is both a water and power company and are run separately. The water side is called the Association. The power side is called the District. This story is focusing on the power side.

The company's electric service territory is divided into 10 districts. It is made up of the original land that farmers used as collateral for a federal loan to get the company started in 1903.

Only those who own land in the 10 districts can vote, SRP customers outside those areas are not allowed. But not all votes are equal.

"You get one vote per acre," Moule said.

His house in district 5 sits on 1/3 of an acre of land, so that means he gets 1/3 of an acre vote.

Moule said his opponent in 2020 controlled 350 acres, which allowed him to start the race with 350 acre votes.

Additionally, there are 4 at large seats which are determined by traditional one-person, one-vote basis across all 10 districts.

The president and vice-president votes are also weighted by acreage across but are chosen by voters across all 10 districts.

Ballots for early voting this year must be requested by March 25.

Early voting is also available in person at the company's Tempe headquarters through April 4. In person voting for the election will be held on April 5.

But very few landowners vote at all.

According to SRP, only about 5% of eligible acreage returned ballots during the 2020 election.

Moule, who has spent much of his retirement learning the system said if a person does not know the ins and out of the process, "It's not an easy thing to do. I don't have any idea how the average person would do this."

In a statement, SRP defended its voting system saying in part, "SRP believes its (sic) voting process, which has been approved by the US Supreme Court is appropriate and works, even today, 100 years later."

Find out more about who is running online here.

Request a ballot online here,