Thursday, August 20, 2015

Of Course Not: crAZy corruption won the APS vote in the Corporation Commission

Here is a synopsis. APS wants to raise rates for rooftop solar users. Opponents claim it will do serious harm to the solar industry, the industry that APS is trying to scuttle. Outside experts, former commissioners, recommend deferring action to a full blown rate case hearing. Before the Commission is the decision to take up the APS request now or to wait for the rate hearing.

Here is what I wrote yesterday.

Will the commission deny APS's request? I will be surprised if it does. The taint of dark money now infects the Commission as an institution. The silence of Commissioner Bitter Smith is damning. The attempt by Commissioner Burns to change the law to make public access to public records more difficult is the nail in the Commission coffin. Even if APS's request is justified, if the Commission approves it, that will be the mental cement that ties APS-related dark money to the Commission.

Will the Commission do the right thing? This is perilously close to inclusion in my series Of Course Not.

The three remaining commissioners not named above, are the most seriously tainted by dark money (thought by many to come from APS). Forese and Little got a lot of dark money in their 2014 campaign. Stump, by appearance from his text messages to APS lobbyists, for example, might have orchestrated some or all of that. So how did they vote yesterday?

Commissioners Bob Stump and Tom Forese voted with Little. Commissioners Susan Bitter Smith and Bob Burns opposed the measure.

But what they voted on was to proceed with analysis and eventual action on the APS case starting now, that is, separate from any overall rate case. Above quote and following quote are from The Republic/ report.

Utility regulators voted Tuesday to set hearings that could lead to a vote on higher fees for Arizona Public Service Co. customers who install solar, but only after an analysis of the costs and benefits of rooftop panels.

In the last election, APS got what it needed. A majority of commissioners in its pocket. crAZy? Maybe. Corruption? Sure.

Was I wrong in my suspicions about what would happen? Do I have any doubt about the eventual outcome? Do you?

Of Course Not.

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