Monday, October 27, 2014

Buying Brnovich: APS backs GOP candidate for AZ Attorney General, but why?

Laurie Roberts at The Republic/azcentral tilts again at the dark money windmills.  Here is part of her report.

... APS is banking on Brnovich becoming AG. Why?
Turns out the attorney general has a role in overseeing the Corporation Commission, specifically in making sure that any rules passed are "clear, concise and understandable" and within the commission's authority to make.
So if a utility (let's say APS) wanted to get out from under what it considered an onerous set of rules (let's say the ones that require it to eventually meet a certain renewable energy standard), it might want a certain candidate (let's say Brnovich) sitting in the catbird seat.
In 2006, the Corporation Commission approved a set of rules requiring regulated utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar or wind by 2025. APS estimated the cost to ratepayers would total $347 million by 2012. The Attorney General's Office, under then Attorney General Terry Goddard, approved the rules in 2007.
In 2008, the Goldwater Institute sued both the Corporation Commission and Goddard, contending the commission had no authority to impose the stringent rules on utilities. Goldwater attorney Clint Bolick called it "an unconstitutional power grab by an agency that is rapidly becoming Arizona's fourth branch of government."

(Really.  I always thought it was a constitutionally mandated 4th branch.)  Roberts continues:

In 2009, Goldwater lost and lost again on appeal in 2011.
As APS continues its battle with the rooftop solar industry, I suppose Goldwater and APS would like to ensure a friendlier set of rules in the future. Brnovich is a former senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute.
A handy guy to have in your hip pocket, don't you think?

The most qualified and experienced candidate Felecia Rotellini must scare the bejesus out of APS.

APS should promote a new slogan in the energy industry: Buying Brnovich.  Or maybe that would be a good movie title.

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