Bills under debate in House and Senate committees would strip oversight authority of the Arizona Corporation Commission over electricity generation in the state, creating market uncertainty, putting reliability at risk, raising costs to consumers, and costing Arizona jobs. (Updated 1/27/21 to reflect oral testimony made. Later the committee passed HB2248 in 6-4 party-line vote.)
PHOENIX, January 26, 2021 — Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) presented oral testimony against proposed companion bills HB2248* and SB1175* in the Arizona state legislature, which would strip oversight authority of the Arizona Corporation Commission over electricity generation in the state. AEE filed testimony and spoke on behalf of its advanced energy technology members as well as the Advanced Energy Buyers Group it facilitates, representing large electricity buyers seeking to meet their corporate clean energy and sustainability goals. The testimony was prepared by Shelby Stults, principal at AEE, for today's House Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee hearing (2 p.m. MT) and tomorrow's Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee (2 p.m. MT) hearing.
“We urge lawmakers to reject these proposed bills that seek to remove regulatory oversight authority over the electricity generation that meets the needs of households and businesses in Arizona,” said Shelby Stults, principal at national business group Advanced Energy Economy. “These bills would undo the regulatory structure that ensures grid reliability, prevents blackouts, and ensures fair, competitive rates for consumers just to prevent the ACC from putting Arizona on a path to carbon-free electricity.”
“By undoing this oversight authority, lawmakers are creating regulatory uncertainty, putting jobs at risk, and hurting Arizona’s competitiveness in attracting businesses that seek secure, clean, affordable, and reliable energy resources to meet their sustainability commitments,” said Stults. “This in turn hurts the stability and long-term growth of Arizona’s economy.”
Stults noted that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, advanced energy employed over 69,000 workers in Arizona. These workers include solar installers, alternative fuel producers, manufacturing employees, and electric car engineers, and are the backbone of a sector that in 2019 was experiencing 3.5% job growth per year—higher than the state average of 2.8%.
“By supporting these bills, lawmakers are sending a message to companies who currently employ thousands of workers across the state and who are looking to expand that Arizona is not ensuring a competitive, reliable electricity market,” said Stults. “These companies will have to rethink their development and investment plans for the state.”
*Note: AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings, plus RTO/ISO policy action, to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis (email@example.com) for permanent media access.