There are 5 candidates running for 3 open seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) this fall. The ACC regulates our utilities, including TEP and Trico, which serve the Tucson area. The Commissioners decisions will have a profound impact on the future of energy in Arizona, including how much and what types of renewable energy we install as a state in the coming years, as well as the payback on solar that consumers receive.
TFS urges you to vote for the ACC commissioners who will best represent your vision for the future of energy, water, and the environment in Arizona.
Below are statements from the ACC candidates, as well as links to relevant news articles which we hope will help to inform your decision.
Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin
Running together Website
- Protect consumers from massive rate hikes. Complicated pricing schemes that only benefit the profits of monopoly utility companies are not fair to the hard working people of Arizona.
- Clean up the corruption that has overtaken the Arizona Corporation Commission and stop APS and other utility companies from spending RATEPAYER money to buy elections. Unlike their opponents Andy Tobin & Boyd Dunn, Tom & Bill will work with current Commissioner Bob Burns to force APS and other regulated utilities to fully disclose campaign spending and prevent them from secretly spending millions of dollars to hand-pick commissioners who will be puppets for a pro-utility agenda.
- Restore integrity to the Commission so that it works for regular people again, not political insiders and big corporations. The Commission shouldn't be doing the bidding of big utility companies. It should allow every customer the opportunity to choose how they produce & consume energy for their own property. Unlike the majority of the current Commission, Bill & Tom believe property rights and individual freedom are more important than the profit margins of monopoly utilities.
- Implement a Code of Ethics for the Arizona Corporation Commission. This code will prohibit commissioners from having relatives who work for regulated utilities, secretly communicating with regulated utilities, using state resources for campaign purposes, and supporting one company's financial interests over competitors, among many other things. The code of ethics will ensure integrity and accountability are restored to the Commission in order to protect consumers.
Bill Mundell was one of the ACC commissioners who voted for and established the Renewable Energy Standard. After some time off of the ACC, he is looking to be re-elected as a commissioner. Both candidates are explicit in their support of solar in general, as well as rooftop solar specifically.
Bob Burns is currently serving as an ACC commissioner. Website.
Fighting for you against special interest groups. “One of the key responsibilities of the Arizona Corporation Commission is to provide oversight and regulation of power and utility providers for Arizona residents…. If regulated public service companies are going to financially support or oppose candidates campaigning for the Corporation Commission (as they have the legal right to do), it must be with full disclosure and transparency. As a member of the Commission, I have fought to require utilities to disclose their political campaign spending, particularly with regards to the elections for Corporation Commission.”
Leading the charge on emerging technologies in energy. “I initiated the Commission's study on emerging technologies in energy. Through this study, I learned the Commission never passed statewide interconnection rules, which is something we are now working to adopt in order to make the integration of technologies more streamlined and consistent. We also learned about ways to improve our resource planning for the future process and I continue to lead efforts to implement those improvements.”
Ensuring affordable and reliable electricity and water supplies. “In my view, the most important role of a commissioner is to find the balance between safe, reliable electricity and affordable, reasonable prices. The commission's constitutional charge is to keep prices low while also ensuring our utilities are healthy enough to provide reliable service. “
Effective Commission divisions. “The divisions within the Corporation Commission must remain vigilant not only for ratepayers, but all Arizonans. The Corporation Division must always strive to operate as swiftly and efficiently as possible in order to provide a user-friendly system for corporate entry into the Arizona business community.”
Standing up to the EPA. “During my tenure at the commission, I have actively worked to prevent EPA overreach. I voted to sue the EPA over Clean Power Plan Rule 111(d) which would all but shut down coal production in our state and, consequently, lead to exorbitant electricity rates.”
Bob Burns has led the charge asking APS to disclose it’s political spending in the 2014 election. He has also focused on emerging technologies.
Andy Tobin is currently serving as an ACC commissioner after being appointed to fill the seat left by Susan Bitter-Smith when she was forced to resign. He is running to servea full-term elected seat as a commissioner. Website.
- Protect the Grid. Arizonans in all parts of the state must have access to a reliable electrical grid that is well maintained and affordable to the taxpayer.
- Water. While California faces draconian measures to conserve water because of years of no planning, Arizona has led the way in water management, which has allowed our state to grow and thrive. Now, the Corporation Commission must work with water companies across Arizona to ensure that their water is safe, their infrastructure sound, and that they provide top-tier customer service to all citizens.
- Lean Government. Since being appointed as Commissioner, I have led the effort to get the Corporation Commission to adopt Governor Doug Ducey's "Lean Government Initiative" and use it in every aspect of Commission business. In other agencies I have managed, Lean saved my employees and the taxpayers time and money by simplifying agency processing, developing a more positive organizational culture, and evaluating our purpose and practice to best serve Arizonans.
- Securities. Our senior citizens must be protected from unscrupulous financial managers who seek to take advantage of those seniors who have scrimped and saved throughout their lives so that they might live comfortably in their golden years. The Commission must have a "No Tolerance" policy for wrong-doing in this area.
The role of a commissioner is very similar to that of a judge, to be the impartial decision-maker based on the facts presented to you on each individual case, regardless of personal feelings or outside influences,” Dunn said. “That is how I ran my court, and that is how I will serve as a Corporation Commissioner. The function of the Arizona Corporation Commission is critically important to the success of our state. It’s time we move past all the rhetoric and return to the basics of protecting the public interest.
Where do the candidates stand?
- Boyd Dunn: “I don’t think it’s been proven absolutely for me,” said former judge Boyd Dunn.
- Bob Burns: Has expressed skepticism of human-caused climate change.
- Andy Tobin: Said it would be foolish to believe that humans are not affecting climate. “The question is, to what extent?”
- Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin: Both acknowledge climate change and both have said they would push for the state to shift away from reliance on coal-fired power plants to develop more alternative energy sources — including solar and wind.
On APS spending disclosure?
- Andy Tobin opposes forcing APS to reveal its political spending.
- Bob Burns, Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell support new rules to require utilities to disclose their political spending on the political seats that regulate the utility.
- Boyd Dunn says it’s legal for APS to not disclose their funding.