Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Laurie Roberts vs. The Scriber: Is the AZ Corporation Commission wholly owned or just partially owned by Arizona Public Service.

Roberts thinks the entire commission is bought out. Scriber thinks only 3/5 are bought out. The fourth is a paid lobbyist for another industry regulated by the ACC, and the fifth is trying to dodge his duty. If you do not know the cast of characters implied here, you will not notice the increase in your electric bills.

Roberts at The Republic/azcentral.com has much to say about the Arizona Corporation Commission being bought out by Arizona Public Service, a utility the commission is supposed to regulate. Here are lots of snippets from her report.

The reader had a request: "Would you stop with all the stories about APS and dark money already. I mean, who cares?"

The first answer is easy. Nope, I won’t stop – not until we know whether the Arizona Corporation Commission really is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arizona Public Service.

Whether APS secretly spent $3.2 million last year on a covert campaign to pack the five-member commission with candidates who reside in the utility’s vast and extremely deep pockets.

As to who cares? You do. Or you should. Especially if you’re a captive customer of the state’s largest and most powerful utility.

That is, unless you really do relish the prospect of higher utility bills.

"Ultimately, it’s about money and how much they (read: you) pay," former long-time Commissioner Renz Jennings told me.

Ultimately, it’s about who should decide how much you pay for electricity: an independent commission or APS.

If you prefer that an independent body make the call, as has happened since statehood, then it’s time to start paying attention.

Two of the commissioners were elevated to ("elected to") the commission with the aid of oodles of dark money.

Here’s the problem for [commissioners] Forese and Little – and for the commission.

Either the pair of them were bought and paid for by APS and we can’t trust this commission to fairly set our utility rates. Or a sizable piece of the public believes they were bought and paid for by APS and we don’t trust this commission to fairly set our utility rates.

Then again, maybe unicorns really do exist and APS had no secret scheme to buy itself a pair of regulators.

If so, there’s a way to prove that.

It's time to crack the APS books.

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