One of the US's largest government-owned utilities, Salt River Project (SRP) provides Phoenix with two types of currents: electric and water. Electricity comes from the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, a political subdivision of the State of Arizona that has a generating capacity of about 8,300 MW and distributes power to more than 956,750 homes and businesses. The district sells excess power to wholesale customers. Water comes from the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association, a private firm that delivers 826,560 acre-feet of water per year to residents and agricultural irrigators; the association also operates dams, canals, reservoirs, and wells in its service area.
It serves residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural power customers in a 2,900-square-mile service territory spanning parts of Maricopa, Gila, and Pinal counties in Arizona. In addition, the enterprise has mining loads in an adjacent 2,400-square-mile area in Gila and Pinal counties. SRP is the region's top water supplier, with a service area of more than 375 square miles and with management responsibilities for a watershed covering 13,000 square miles.
The company reported flat operating revenues in fiscal 2012. However, net income dropped dramatically, from $304 million in 2011 to $18 million in 2012, mainly due to the higher charges of fuels (primarily coal) used in electric generation, an increase in operating and maintenance costs and taxes, and higher financing expenses.
Staying true to its mission of providing water and electricity to SRP customers, the company owns or has stakes in a dozen major power generating plants fueled by diverse sources, including nuclear, hydro, coal, biomass, and natural gas.
SRP is aiming to get 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2020 in order to meet tightening environmental regulations. In fiscal 2012 renewables (primarily hydroelectric power, and including some purchased green power from third parties) accounted for more than 9% of its total generating capacity. In addition to hydropower, the company is investing in wind, geothermal, landfill gas, and solar power generation technologies. Initiatives include the Dry Lake Wind Project (the first commercial wind farm in Arizona) and an incentive program that rewards customers for installing solar panels at their homes and businesses.
It is also pushing conservation measures, and plans to install 1 million smart meters (efficient, automated systems that allow customers to monitor and reduce energy use) by 2013.
In order to upgrade its older coal plants and to build additional generation, transmission, distribution, and irrigation assets, SRP has earmarked $5.6 billion in capital improvements by 2015.
SRP was founded in 1903 under the Natural Reclamation Act. – less