APS Didn't Mean to Lie to New Times on Funding of Anti-Solar Ads, Spokesman Says

Categories: Solar Energy

Back in July, Arizona Public Service denied funding an ad campaign that attacked a coalition of rooftop-solar installers battling the utility for ratepayers' money.

But now the company's confessing that it is, in fact, funding the campaign.

Jim McDonald, APS spokesman, tells us he "had no intention of telling a lie to anybody" when he told the lie.

Intentions aside, just compare the two passages from our July article and one that appeared yesterday in the Arizona Republic:

See also: An Epic Battle Between Solar Firms and Power Utilities Could Leave One Side Unplugged

From: APS Denies Funding Solar-Installer Attack Ad That It Likes

APS spokesman McDonald says the utility did not pay for the ad or help produce it in any way; nor does APS donate to 60 Plus.

APS isn't interested in politicizing the issue as Rose has, McDonald says.

"But going forward, we would certainly support organizations that share our position on important customer issues," he says.

McDonald could not confirm, however, whether Noble considered the ad -- if it is indeed Noble's handiwork -- as part of his duties as APS/Pinnacle West consultant and lobbyist. McDonald says he hasn't talked to Noble about it.

Now read this excerpt from yesterday's Repub story, APS, solar companies clash over credits to customers

[John Hatfield, APS vice president of communications] said APS is not using ratepayer funds to finance its political campaign. Instead, he said the utility is using profits that otherwise would go to stockholders. APS' parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., is publicly traded.

APS officials declined to say how much they are spending on 60 Plus and Prosper, but costs of the television advertisements tied to the net-metering issue run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We are in a political battle," APS spokesman Jim McDonald said. "We didn't ask for it. But we are not going to lie down and get our heads kicked in. We are just not. We are obligated to fight. It is irresponsible to our customers not to fight back."

There's a lot of money at stake in this battle, as we pointed out in our July 11 feature article on the fight between rooftop solar companies and utilities.

Fighting fair, evidently, is not an option.

So how did it happen that a regulated utility put out false propaganda in this war?

McDonald didn't just make up his answers to our specific questions back in July about whether APS was funding the 60 Plus campaign. He says someone told him what he told us, that APS did not pay for any of the 60 Plus ads or donate anything to 60 Plus. He says he doesn't remember who told him that. But it wasn't Hatfield, he adds.

McDonald says he believes the bad info came to him from someone who talked about the funding with Sean Noble, the Republican political operative hired by APS who acted as go-between for APS and 60 Plus.

"I don't think anybody at APS intended to tell me a lie," he says.

My Voice Nation Help

APS Fair?  ROFL!  The same folks that commissioned our solar install but failed to install the correct meters (basically we are getting charged for what we produce and they are getting the excess FREE and they get to charge our neighbors!)

When I called to complain, they said they will send another email to their Green team.  Meanwhile they put a LOCK on the system and I am not supposed to shut it off without their permission.  Sweet deal for them, meanwhile we are getting shafted.


Yeah, and the New Times reporter who took what they said at face value, looking SO much like an industry shill, gets off scott free despite the blaring evidence that APS has been full of it for a long time.

And said NT journo got pissed off at me for calling him out on his dismissiveness toward the solar industry. SMH.

ExpertShot topcommenter

Remember the non-profit green washing groups that receive money from APS - be warned these groups are against Solar and for Nuclear and coal - even the Sierra Club took money from APS through a grant to attend a Valley Forward "EARTH DAY" greenwashing event with a free booth.  Hopefully they have learned their lesson.

Cozz topcommenter

APS sucks. Greedy bastards is what they are.

I plan on going solar this year on my house.


They just lied by accident.

Just like when they say they are fighting solar for the good of their customers.  Utter rubbish and as big a lie as claiming they were funding the hit campaign.

APS is dependent on building power plants, they can only increase their earnings if they can invest more money in capital projects.   Homeowner owned solar reduces demand for power and reduces the need for power plants and cuts into the profit APS is allowed to earn as a percentage of the infrastructure they build.

More solar = less infrastructure = declining profits for APS shareholders


people are going to start wondering why everyone in the "valley of sun" doesn't have solar.  Give it up APS.


Koch brothers and a guy last name , Noble is on the line in California , for money changes , that as well ties into the APS and the feud they have over solar power .. i have sent this link to Steven L.  see the link below , and can as well do a web search for California actions in the APS /Noble/Koch mess .

robert_graham topcommenter

Actually APS never had to talk to this libtard rag in the first place. I urge everybody who is contacted for an interview decline.


I know a board member on pinnacle west,and he is a real teabagger douchebag  farmer.

he is so old and infirm that he cant take a shit without domestic help,but he's determining our future and his kids future wealth on the backs of all of us!

he didn't like my investment in solar as it cut into his profit,but cut my bill in half!

money makes people really greedy and disconnected..

ExpertShot topcommenter

Profits generated from the sale of electricity to ratepayers are not the ratepayers - but because APS is a monopoly, and enjoys the benefit of having no competition for those sales, it's actions in this matter should be highly scrutinized.  APS is simply fighting the entrance to it's monopoly market of a competitor - these efforts should be ignored by the Corporation Commission and seen as what they are, a fat bloated corporation that is getting rich on the public dole because they have been granted a monopoly. 

Hell, if APS would start offering rooftop solar like these other companies, they'd have nothing to worry about, but they have a bunch of old farts who made a decision to go nuclear a long time ago and come hell or high water, they will NOT let them damn hippies win.  In other words, there's a bunch of ignorant rednecks in charge over there at APS and we should put them in the nursing home where they belong!

APS has been allowed to screw up our State for far too long.  Please help the campaign to support getting people who own their own solar systems to continue to get a fair price. 

This is the crux of the argument, if we are going to subsidize the energy companies which produce our electricity, are we going to do it with technology which will kill us, or sustain us - APS wants to kill us and our future generations with fossil fuels and nuclear and we want to sustain us with clean, renewable, and SAFE, energy choices.  Please join us.

Please go to


and see more info on the corrupt politics surrounding this political fight - a fight APS should NOT be allowed to chime in on because they ARE a monopoly and anti-capitalists.

The Arizona Corporation Commission is a regulatory body and should not protect a monopoly from competition - from

T.U.S.K., Tell Utilities Solar won't be Killed,


This is vitally important right now - anything we can do to mitigate human caused climate change is crucial and this is an easy one.  Here's another group working to stop this monopoly from screwing up our State even further. 


Also, all those environmental groups that are taking APS' money, yeah - I'm talking to you Valley Forward - you owe a special duty to come out in support of solar right now, Diane Brossard has been the lapdog for the polluters for so long she's forgot her mission is not just to suck money into Valley Forward but to help educate people on the positive choices they can make to better Arizona.  APS is showing their true colors to the world right now and any of the following groups that continue to take their dirty money deserve to lose support of the public!

ray.stern moderator

@arizonaeagletarian No, Steve, I unfriended you on Facebook because you're rude and lack common sense.

I'm not pissed at all at you for your one-sided opinions about solar power, and in fact I appreciate the debate on that, even though you're like a religious zealot on the issue.

ray.stern moderator

But that also hides the truth, Robert.


@ExpertShot you are so right about the nursing home thing.

I am one of those hippies they hate,but masonicly speaking old age &.death is the great equalizer.


@ray.stern @arizonaeagletarian the post on APS above appears to be nothing more than you covering your ass for not catching it when you should have. I don't care what you did about or on facebook. Your record as a journalist on energy issues is deficient. Still.

ExpertShot topcommenter

@jeanjbProblem is with a corporation, they don't die - and they have business plans that assume that the opposition will and it will continue to exist after their opponents' death. 

That's why the opposition to nuclear power must continue educating the youth about the dangers of radioactive materials and the continued need to oppose it's use for the generation of electricity and for warfare. 

Unless we shut down Palo Verde and safely dispose of its materials, APS will continue to exist as a monopoly in this State.  APS knows this and planned it's continued existence as a monopoly through the use of nuclear materials for 100s of years into the future. 

Without nuclear fuels APS would probably have ceased to exist over 20 years ago - that's why they oppose solar and renewable energy, because we don't need APS if we have the ability to produce our own power. 

Read Atom's Eve by ASU Professor Mark Reader:


ray.stern moderator

@arizonaeagletarian @ray.stern What "criticism?" I was referring to your name-calling.


@ray.stern @arizonaeagletarian No need to apologize to me. I don't have to worry about coping with your idiosyncrasies. :)

No, I don't believe Anglen is an industry shill. He's also an experienced investigative reporter.

Btw, now you're saying I'm responsible for your moods? I had no idea I was that powerful.

It does go, however, without saying, that you find my criticism offensive. I have no problem with that. ;)

ray.stern moderator

@arizonaeagletarian @ray.stern So you're saying you don't think Anglen is an "industry shill?" 

Sorry you believe I'm so "defensive" -- but maybe you know you're... offensive?


@ray.stern @arizonaeagletarian I did and still do believe Randazzo to be an industry shill. Why do you think the Republic assigned Anglen to the story?

Be defensive all you want, it really doesn't bother me.

The disruptive innovation that APS is facing is already evident and it's most obviously being caused by Solar. You dismissing anything just because I wrote it reflects on you, and not in a good way.

If APS did not see trouble in its very near future, it wouldn't be attacking solar and it wouldn't be exploring "extra legal" remedies for its obviously endangered market prospects.

You're still barking up the wrong tree by directing your angst at me rather than digging for more nuggets of truth regarding the electric power market in Arizona.

Cheers. :)


Steve Muratore, bureaucrat turned wanna be journalist. -- who's really a propagandist.

ray.stern moderator

@arizonaeagletarian Don't forget that you call Ryan Randazzo, author of the piece that caught APS in the lie, an "industry shill," same as you call me.

Heck, you didn't catch the lie any earlier than Randazzo, either. You're a blogger, too, ain't you? And one who now claims to have all this inside info from APS...

Lastly, some of your one-sided opinions about solar power should be dismissed. Remember your line, something to the effect of, "Don't give me this bullshit that solar doesn't work at night."  


@ray.stern That's exactly what my point was. You should have caught the lie sooner. The way I see it, you were too busy finding fault with Solar to recognize that problem. It's not like you had nobody pointing you to it.

You were too busy dismissing my comments as "one sided opinions about solar power." I never denied being an advocate. But you missed the problem by dismissing my insight when you should have been questioning the validity of APS bullshit.

So, yes, I maintain that your story yesterday about APS admission is, to a degree, you covering for the fact that you were too busy dismissing the perspective that would have lead you to asking more, better, deeper questions.

Yeah, I know, that may be overstating it a tad. But you still erred by dismissing what I have had to say about the subject.

You actually DID have access to some APS inside info. What I wrote in 2000/2001 was directly from the inside of the beast. I spent six months performing analysis and verification of bulk power trades APS engaged in.

Perhaps it's your youthful know-it-all-ness, but you missed it when it was right in front of you.

Do you think APS WANTED to divulge it's dirty dealings to the Republic?

ray.stern moderator

@arizonaeagletarian @ray.stern  I have never written an article to "cover my ass." I wasn't the only one who wrote a "APS denies funding..." story. The only criticism you have that's valid is your implication that I should have caught the lie. 

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