Arizona Corporation Commission
The Arizona Corporation Commission is the Public Utilities Commission of the State of Arizona, established by Article 15 of the Arizona Constitution. Arizona is one of only fourteen states with elected commissioners. The Arizona constitution explicitly calls for an elected commission, as opposed to a governor-appointed commission, which is the standard in most states, because its drafters feared that governors would appoint industry-friendly officials. They are directly elected statewide and serve staggered four-year terms.
Responsibilities and duties
The commission's scope of responsibility is generally larger than most commissions in other states. Some of its major duties include regulating public utility companies, regulating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation, and railroad/pipeline safety.
In January 2018, a member of the commission proposed an energy plan that includes an 80 percent clean energy target and a 3,000 MW energy storage procurement target, which would surpass California and New York.
The current Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission is Thomas Forese.
As of 2015, the Arizona Attorney General’s office began investigating a complaint that seeks to have Bitter Smith removed from her position due to conflict-of-interest issues. As chair of the commission, Bitter Smith is in charge of regulating the telecommunications industry. However, at the same time, she was a lobbyist for the industry, running her own public relations firm called Technical Solutions. Until recently, the company described itself on its website as a “full service government affairs company including direct federal, state and local lobbying activities with agencies ranging from the Federal Communications Commission, to the Arizona Corporation Commission, to the Arizona Legislature and Arizona municipalities.” The description from Technical Solution's website was removed after the Arizona Attorney General began investigating the complaint against her.
An attorney with the Arizona Corporation Commission, Eric Hill, quit his position in June 2016 and began a new job representing rooftop solar companies such as SolarCity at the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Rose Law Group. The law firm represented solar companies in legal battles between solar companies and the Arizona Public Services Company (APS), which is the largest and oldest electric company in Arizona. The legal battles were about net metering; the two sides argued over how much electric rates should be and how much refunds should be to homeowners running rooftop solar panels.
The Hearing Division, under the supervision of the Chief Hearing Officer, conducts evidentiary hearings and issues recommended orders for the Commissioners' consideration and approval. Chief Hearing Officers, since creation of the position, have been:
- 1974–1975 Lawrence J. Evans, Jr.
- 1975–1979 Andrew Wilson Bettwy
- 1979–1981 David Kennedy
- 1982–1987 Thomas Mumaw
- 1987–1992 Beth Ann Burns
- 1992–2000 Jerry Rudibaugh
- 2000–? Jane Rodda (Acting)
- 2009 – 2015 - Lyn Farmer
- 2015 to Present - Dwight Nodes
Regulation of public utilities
As part of its role in regulating public utilities, the Commission established a Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) in 2006. To provide public information related to implementation of the REST, the Commission together with the regulated electric utilities in Arizona have developed a website called Arizona Goes Solar. The authority for the Commission to establish a renewable energy standard has been challenged several times in court by the Goldwater Institute (see Miller v. Arizona Corporation Commission). The standard was most recently upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals in April 2011.
Commissioner Andy Tobin
Commission Chair Bob Burns
Commissioner Justin Olson (R)
Commissioner Boyd Dunn (R)
Commissioner Sandra Kennedy (D)
- "National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners:". www.naruc.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
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- "Arizona Regulator Proposes Biggest Storage and Clean Energy Target Yet". Retrieved 2018-02-07.
- "Roberts: Susan Bitter Smith should resign". azcentral. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- Randazzo, Ryan (19 September 2015). "Utility regulator Susan Bitter Smith no stranger to conflict". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "ACC attorney jumps to law firm representing SolarCity, rooftop interests battling APS". Phoenix Business Journal. 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
- "APS - Company Profile". Arizona Public Services Company. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
- "Arizona Corporation Commission:". Azcc.gov. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "Home page". Arizonagoessolar.org. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- Randazzo, Ryan (2011-04-07). "Appeals Court upholds rule on renewable energy". Azcentral.com. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
-  Archived May 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine