Saturday, September 26, 2015

APS pulls rate request, Corporation Commission still under cloud of suspicion

The Daily Star reports.

Arizona’s largest electricity utility offered Friday to withdraw a proposed fee increase for solar customers, saying its request had been "turned into political theater" by opponents.

Arizona Public Service Co. said it instead wants regulators to hold a hearing to determine the actual costs of providing power and let that be used to help decide how much of a rate increase it imposes on customers.

The utility says non-solar customers are being increasingly forced to pay more than their share to support the power grid because of solar customers who are growing in number each year. APS wanted the monthly solar fee boosted from the $5 a month approved in 2013 to $21 per month, which critics said would harm the solar industry by reducing the incentive for installing rooftop panels.

The proposals have set off a political fight on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates the utility. The utility has declined to either confirm or deny that it spent as much as $3.2 million in last year’s Corporation Commission election to back its favored candidates, who easily won.

By pulling back on the rate increase, APS will let the commission decide what a reasonable rate increase is next year after analyzing all the necessary costs associated with solar and other innovations.

The rest of the article rehashes the conflict of interest and dark money difficulties faced by Arizona Corporation Commission members. It does not matter that APS pulled its request. The commissioners are tainted and any decision favoring APS will be forever suspect. At least four of the commissioners need to get the boot and the other one, Bob Burns, needs to force APS to open its books and reveal its political spending in the 2014 campaign.

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