What you need to know about the upcoming SRP elections

Do you receive your water or electricity from Salt River Project (SRP)? Did you know that the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which sets the utility rates for every other utility in the state of Arizona, does not set the rates for SRP ratepayers? If the ACC does not set the rates for SRP ratepayers, then who does? Enough questions, let’s get some answers!

Well, one more question: Did you know that the SRP Board of Directors and Council are elected officials? SRP is a not-for-profit, community based, public utility company. They are the largest public power utility in the United States by generation (kWh produced). The SRP Board of Directors have three major roles in their duties as elected officials. First, they set the rates that SRP ratepayers have to pay on their bills. Second, they set policies for SRP management to implement, for example, what sources of fuel that SRP should use to generate their electricity (renewable energy, fossil fuels, coal, nuclear, etc). Third, the SRP board approves any bonds that SRP issues for capital improvements. 

If you are a SRP ratepayer, you might be able to vote in the upcoming election for the SRP Board of Directors and Council. Unfortunately, SRP hasn't updated their voting districts since 1937. About 49% of SRP ratepayers are not eligible to vote in the election even though they pay a very large bill to SRP every month. Also, to vote in the SRP elections you must own property within the votable area. If you are a renter, unfortunately you also do not get a vote even though you probably pay the electric/water bills. If you manage to meet all of the criteria to vote, then the number of votes that you get is determined by the acres of land that you own. If you own 5.25 acres, you get 5.25 votes. If you own 0.01 acres, you get 0.01 votes. What’s even more undemocratic about this election is that there are Arizona Public Service Company (APS) electricity customers that are able to vote in the SRP elections even though some of SRP’s own ratepayers are not eligible to vote. This really doesn’t seem to be a democratic process! But in order to change the voting process we need to elect new candidates to the SRP Board of Directors and Council. 

SRP’s elections happen every two years. There are 10 voting areas and 4 at-large seats in the SRP district. Every other year half of the voting areas are up for re-election. In April 2024, the odd numbered districts are up for re-election. Here is a map of the voting areas so you can see if you’re in an eligible district. In order to participate in the SRP elections, you can request an early ballot be sent to you in the mail so you can vote by mail. When you fill in the ballot request form make sure to select the option to be added to the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL). 

By Randy Miller

Randy Miller is a Salt River Project Board member. The views expressed in this article are his individual views and opinions and are not on behalf of the SRP Board of Directors or Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District.