Arizona Corporation Commission

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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 a handful[clarification needed] of 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,[1] because its drafters feared that governors would appoint industry-friendly officials.[2] They are directly elected statewide and serve staggered four-year terms.

The commission has five members. As of October 21, the commissioners are Tom Forese, Doug Little, Susan Bitter Smith, Bob Stump, and Bob Burns.[3]

Responsibilities and duties[edit]

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, regulate/facilitate the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation, and railroad/pipeline safety.


The current chair of the commission is Susan Bitter Smith. She joined the commission in 2013.[4]

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 works as a lobbyist for the industry,[5] running her own public relations firm called Technical Solutions. Until recently, the company described itself on its website as a “full service government affairs services 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.”[4] The description from Technical Solution's website was removed after the Arizona Attorney General began investigating the complaint against her.[4]

Hearing Division[edit]

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-?
  • 1984(?)-1987 Thomas Mumaw
  • 1987-1992 Beth Ann Burns
  • 1992-2000 Jerry Rudibaugh
  • 2000-? Jane Rodda (Acting)
  • 2009(?) - ? Lyn Farmer

Regulation of public utilities[edit]

As part of its role in regulating public utilities, the Commission established a Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST)[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Current corporation commissioners as of 2013 are Gary Pierce (Chair-R), Brenda Burns (R), Bob Stump (R), Susan Bitter Smith (R) and Robert Burns (R).[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arizona Corporation Commission:". Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  2. ^ McClory, Toni (2006-12-22). "Arizona's Executive Branch" (PDF). [dead link]
  3. ^ "Arizona Corporation Commission". Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  4. ^ a b c "Roberts: Susan Bitter Smith should resign". azcentral. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  5. ^ Randazzo, Ryan (19 September 2015). "Utility regulator Susan Bitter Smith no stranger to conflict". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Arizona Corporation Commission:". 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Home page". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  8. ^ Randazzo, Ryan (2011-04-07). "Appeals Court upholds rule on renewable energy". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]