Friday, January 29, 2016

Corporation Commissioner Burns ups the ante, requires Arizona Public Service to open their books

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns is finally getting serious about Arizona Public Service's alleged 2014 campaign spending. Previously he wrote a "request" to the APS CEO who then stiffed Burns - in spite of the constitutional basis for ACC's access to financial records of the companies they regulate. This time it's a "requirement." Here are snippets from a report in the Arizona Capitol Times (subcription required); a similar report was carried by the Daily Star).

Burns says he has the authority under Arizona law to “expressly direct” APS to turn over its book for inspection. He will choose a representative to conduct the inspections and interview people, and he wants the entire examination of records to be done under oath in order to create a written record.

“To be clear, unlike my previous communications, this letter is not intended as a request, but is instead a requirement for your cooperation,” Burns concluded.

ARS 40-241 says “the commission, each commissioner and person employed by the commission may, at any time, inspect the accounts, books, papers and documents of any public service corporation.” The statute also gives the power to examine, under oath, any people employed by the public service corporation.

Burns told the Arizona Capitol Times he’ll have to wait and see what APS says in response to his letter before figuring out what his next step is. He’s said before that he’s willing to subpoena the company in order to force them to disclose spending.

“This is a state statute, this is a law. I think if they just come out and say no without any explanation, they would be in violation of the law,” Burns said.

No kidding.

The Yellow Sheet Report has a summary of Burns' action and speculates that it is a prelude to a lawsuit from the ACC against APS.

After his earlier pleas fell on deaf ears, Burns today issued a demand to APS: Turn over your books. Citing his authority under ARS 40-241 to inspect the records of public service corporations, Burns told APS to make its accounts, books, papers and other documents, and the individuals who can answer the questions about those records, available for an inquiry that he is launching.

"Translation: A lawsuit is coming"

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