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BREAKING: Arizona House, Senate Passed Bills Create Electric Power Market Uncertainty, Hurt Business

Posted by Monique Hanis on Mar 3, 2021

Arizona bill HB2248, passed by House, revokes the Arizona Corporation Commission’s authority over critical electrical generation rules and policies; SB1459 passed by Senate adds uncertainty in administrative review of ACC rule-making.

PHOENIX, March 3, 2021 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy reacted to Arizona House passage of HB2248* (31-28-1) and Senate passage of SB1459* (16-14 along party lines). HB2248 would revoke the authority to create or enforce rules and policies on “critical electrical generation” from the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), the state’s elected regulatory body for utilities and electricity. SB1459 makes it easier for investigations brought forward by the legislature easier to apply to the ACC, disrupting and duplicating current admin review processes.

If passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey, these bills would undo the state’s proposed energy rules to move Arizona toward 100 percent clean electric power, which was voted to move forward on a bipartisan basis by the commission last July. Notably, the rules featured substantial changes to the filing requirements for integrated resource planning—the process by which utilities plan how and what resource mix will be used to meet long-term electricity demand.

“At a time when customers are most depending on reliable affordable power, lawmakers are creating uncertainty over electric power generation in Arizona,” said Shelby Stults, Principal and Arizona state lead at Advanced Energy Economy.

“HB2248 and SB1459 essentially undo the regulatory structure that ensures grid reliability, prevents blackouts, and ensures fair, competitive rates for consumers just so that some lawmakers can prevent the ACC from putting Arizona on a path to carbon-free electricity,” said Stults. “There’s no clear process over how the legislature will take over expert regulatory oversight of Arizona’s electricity generation—this puts business investment in Arizona into a tailspin and jeopardizes electricity rates for all customers.”

HB2248’s companion bill, SB1175*, is expected to be heard next by the Senate Rules Committee. SB1459 removes the exemption in which administrative review does not apply to the Arizona Corporation Commission. As a result, an action to review a final administrative decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission must be "heard and determined with convenient speed." In the proceeding brought against the regulated party, the court shall decide all questions of law, including the interpretation of a constitutional or statutory provision or a rule adopted by an agency, without deference to any previous determination that may have been made by the agency.

HB2248/SB1175 and SB1459 are not the only bills in this legislative session targeting the ACC’s authority. As proposed, HB2737* seeks to allow any single legislator to instigate an Arizona Attorney General investigation into the actions of the Arizona Corporation Commission. The bill has thus far passed the House Natural Resource, Energy, and Water Committee and is scheduled to be heard in House Rules on [date].

Background Materials

*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 (mhanis@aee.net) for permanent media access.

About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. AEE is the only industry association in the U.S. that represents the full range of advanced energy technologies and services, both grid-scale and distributed. Advanced energy includes energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, and more. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. AEE's PowerSuite online platform allows users to track regulatory and legislative issues in state legislatures, U.S. Congress, state PUCs, RTOs/ISOs, and FERC. Sign up for a free trial at powersuite.aee.net. Follow us at @AEEnet.

Topics: Press Releases