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2 Pro-Solar Challengers Likely Ousted Incumbents In SRP Election

Nick Brown
(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Nick Brown is running for the Salt River Project’s Board of Directors.

Unofficial election results show two pro-solar challengers won election to the Salt River Project’s board of directors Wednesday, ousting two incumbents in the little-known election.

Pro-solar candidates Nick Brown and Paul Hirt likely defeated incumbent board members Fred Ash and Chris Dobson in the race with about 1600 votes each, according to SRP preliminary results.  

The challengers ran on a clean energy ticket after the utility’s board voted to impose a fee on new rooftop solar customers in 2015.

SRP’s 14-member board of directors for the SRP Agricultural Improvement and Power District establishes policy and sets prices for the nonprofit utility’s more than 1 million electric customers. Landowners in SRP territory vote in the elections.

The utility also held elections for seats on the district council as well as for 20 seats on its board of governors and Council of the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association, which manages water operations.

Voter turnout for SRP elections is notoriously low. Of more than 600,000 eligible voters in SRP’s district and association elections, about 4,000 votes are usually cast, according to SRP. That’s a voter turnout of about .5 percent.

This time around, there were 3,520 individual voters casting ballots in the district election, according to SRP. That breaks the previous record of 3,179 individual votes cast in the district’s 2014 election.

The results will become official after a canvass by the SRP boards at their April 11 meeting.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.