Monday, August 1, 2016

Time to check in on the Arizona Corruption Commission

It's been a while so I thought we should see how things are going. Remember Tom Forese? He's one of two guys that, it is widely suspected, was helped in the 2014 race by Arizona Public Service. No problem, right? APS gets to choose its own regulators.

QproQ #1: When Commissioner Bob Burns asked APS to open its books (and any commissioner has the legal right to do that), Forese voted against it.

QproQ #2: Now Forese is starring in a video promoting APS.

Back in Texas there is a saying: Ya gotta dance with them that brung ya. Forese is dancing.

Check out Laurie Roberts' report for more background and commentary on ACC. Some of it follows.

Two things we know are true

So now comes Forese, starring in a video promoting APS’s Solar Partner program. The program allows low-income customers to score a discount from APS if they allow the utility to install solar panels on the roof.

APS and ConservAmerica, the group that produced the video, believe it’s a way for customers who can’t otherwise take advantage of solar to reap the benefits. Rooftop solar companies, meanwhile, contend it’s just another way for APS to put them out of business.

Regardless of which is true, this much is absolutely true:

Right now, the money for the program is coming out of APS’s pocket.

APS is asking the Corporation Commission to stick you and me with the tab. It’s part of the utility’s pending request for an 8 percent rate hike – one that’ll be decided by the commission next year.

Decided by four commissioners and Forese, who stars in a video promoting the program.

Good bet: If APS gets to do its thing, other utilities like TEP will follow.

...nobody connected with this Corporation Commission – other than Burns, that is – seems to see a problem with the prospect of APS quietly, covertly taking over the commission that basically decides how much more of your money APS can put into its deep, deep pockets.

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