Complaint Calls For Disqualification Of Tobin In APS Rate Hike Case

Commissioner Andy Tobin [Photo from the Arizona Corporation Commission]

A complaint was filed in federal court on Wednesday against Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin. The complaint, filed by Sedona resident Warren Woodward, requests the disqualification of Tobin as a participant “in and judging ACC docket # E-01345A-18-0002.”

ACC docket # E-01345A-18-0002 involves a complaint brought by Stacey Champion against Arizona Public Service Company (APS) asking for a rate hike rehearing.

In August 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a $95 million rate hike. Champion and her supporters have argued that the rate hike “was unjust and hurts our most vulnerable populations.”

Woodward’s complaint:

Andrew Tobin (“Tobin”) is a commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission (“ACC”). As a commissioner he serves in a judicial capacity. The Arizona Corporation Commission regulates monopoly utilities in the state of Arizona. As such, commissioner Tobin is sitting in judgment of a formal complaint, ACC docket # E-01345A-18-0002, in which Plaintiff is an intervenor. By the following, Tobin has shown himself to have the objective appearance of a constitutionally impermissible level of bias, thus depriving Plaintiff of his Constitutional right to due process.

Tobin has violated the ex parte rule by inappropriate communication with the Respondent to the aforementioned complaint, Arizona Public Service Company (“APS”).

Tobin’s documented frequent, seemingly constant contact with APS’s lobbyists (which included a meeting for drinks which did not show up on Tobin’s public calendar) reveal a pattern of bias.

After the filing of the aforementioned complaint, Tobin used ACC stationery and other commission resources to promote an APS political position. Commissioner Tobin is currently under investigation for this behavior by the Arizona Attorney General.

Before its rate case that established the residential rates that are the subject of the aforementioned complaint (rates for which Tobin voted), APS invested an extraordinary amount of money in Tobin’s election campaign, 1.4 million dollars which was twenty-three times more than the $60,860 total that Tobin’s campaign raised from 86 others.

Based on the above, at the ACC, Plaintiff moved for commissioner Tobin’s recusal from the aforementioned complaint but Plaintiff’s motion was denied along with Plaintiff’s right to due process.

Demand

Plaintiff requests the Court to disqualify ACC commissioner Andrew Tobin from participating in and judging ACC docket # E-01345A-18-0002. Because that docket is in progress, Plaintiff requests immediate relief, or in the alternative, deciding this case on an expedited basis.

Damages: The plaintiff requests no damages.

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