The majority of Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) commissioners showed their true colors last Wednesday by voting 4 to 1 against granting the relief Stacey Champion had sought in her formal complaint against APS for having unjust and unreasonable rates.
Rates granted APS in its last rate case were supposed to result in an average bill increase of 4.54% but it was found that thousands of customers’ bills went up by many tens of percent. Fighting the ACC for over a year and a half via a formal complaint (in which I was an Intervenor on her side), Champion sought immediate relief for those ratepayers by requesting that the new rip-off rates be rescinded.
Feigning concern, ACC commissioners went through some false hand wringing over ratepayers’ plight while at the same time the commissioners denied the relief Champion sought. Disgustingly, they also patronized Champion for her effort and “passion” while voting against her. While voting against her, ACC chairman Bob Burns even had the effrontery to ask Champion to use her research skills to research electricity competition for him. Commissioner Sandra Kennedy was the lone, sane vote opposite the majority of commissioners.
In the course of her Complaint, Champion found that the number of APS customers that got their electricity cut off for non-payment had almost doubled under the new rates as compared to previous years under the old rates, and at least two people actually died from heat related death after their juice was cut off in summer. Champion also found that ACC Staff — in what looked every bit like an attempt to bury the truth — had released APS from reporting the number of shut-offs, which had been a reporting requirement for years. Heads at the ACC should have rolled over that scandal but of course nothing happened.
In discussing Champion’s complaint, the commissioners voting against her used all kinds of specious reasoning — with loads of total BS liberally spread — to avoid taking immediate and substantive action in favor of ripped off ratepayers. The commissioners anemic idea of taking action was to ask APS to file a new rate case. That rate case will supposedly be more scrutinized this time. Yeah, sure. So relief, if any, won’t come for probably another 18 months anyway.
Voters, remember these commissioners’ names (all Republicans) and do not vote for them ever: Boyd Dunn, Justin Olson, and Lea Peterson. Bob Burns is term-limited out but should never be elected to any office he might seek in the future.
As usual, I will probably lose a few of my Republican readers for what I am writing. Fine. I hope they enjoy their Stockholm Syndrome and being ripped off and ill-served by their party. I am a registered Republican but must acknowledge that Republicans have been an unmitigated disaster for ratepayers over the 8 years I have been battling the ACC. They need to be sent packing.