PHOENIX, April 28, 2021 — Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) condemned Arizona legislators’ passage of Senate Bill 1459*. The bill is now headed to Governor Ducey’s desk. If signed, it will create duplicative oversight that will delay decisions from the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), the body that regulates the state’s energy system and utilities. This policy will hurt Arizona ratepayers and the business community by eliminating the regulatory certainty needed for reliable and affordable energy. After being amended on the floor, the bill passed out of the House of Representatives on Monday April 25 with a vote of 31 to 28 and one abstention. It was sent back to the Senate for a final reading, where it passed 16 to 14.
"This bill duplicates oversight already laid out in the Arizona Revised Statute and introduces unnecessary uncertainty into the ACC’s rule-making process,” said Shelby Stults, principal at Advanced Energy Economy. “It creates regulatory confusion at a time when we need stable oversight of our energy system. The disruption to an orderly regulatory process that Arizonans depend on for safe, reliable, affordable electric power harms businesses and consumers. It will also increase litigation costs for the state by opening opportunities for legal challenges.”
The ACC is a constitutionally authorized and elected regulatory body with different powers than other government agencies. If signed into law, SB 1459 will subject the Commission to additional oversight processes that are used for non-independent state agencies. This will create conflict with existing ACC oversight processes, which already require extensive stakeholder involvement, transparency, and oversight from an administrative law judge and the state attorney general.
SB 1459 was accompanied by other bills this session that also sought to revoke the ACC’s regulatory authority or challenge and duplicate the existing oversight process. Two other bills this session, HB 2248, which passed out of the House, and SB 1175 similarly target the Commission’s authority to adopt or enforce policy related to electrical generation resources. HB 2737 also sought to create a new oversight process with disruptive consequences for the Commission.
“These legislative proposals threaten to disrupt the activities of a voter-elected, constitutionally authorized agency that is charged with ensuring that Arizona businesses and residents have access to affordable, reliable power,” said Stults.
- Read our overview, "In Arizona, an All-Out Assault on the ACC’s Clean Energy Rules."
- Read our statement on HB 2248 and SB 1175, “AEE Urges Arizona Lawmakers to Reject Bills Stripping ACC Authority Over Electricity Generation."
- Read our previous statement on SB 1459, “Arizona House, Senate Passed Bills Creating Electric Power Market Uncertainty, Hurt Business."
*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.