The Arizona Corporation Commission’s mission is to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable utility services; have railroad and pipeline systems that are operated and maintained in a safe manner; grow Arizona’s economy as we help local entrepreneurs achieve their dream of starting a business; modernize an efficient, effective, and responsive government agency; and protect Arizona citizens by enforcing an ethical securities marketplace.
Article 15 of the Arizona Constitution establishes the Arizona Corporation Commission. Only 7 states have constitutionally formed Commissions. Arizona is one of only 13 states with elected Commissioners. In the 37 other states, Commissioners are appointed by either the governor or the legislature.
In most states, the Commission is known as the Public Service Commission or the Public Utility Commission. Our Commission, however, has responsibilities that go beyond traditional public utilities regulation. These additional roles include facilitating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation and railroad/pipeline safety.
By virtue of the Arizona Constitution, the Commissioners function in an Executive capacity, they adopt rules and regulations thereby functioning in a Legislative capacity, and they also act in a Judicial capacity sitting as a tribunal and making decisions in contested matters.
The Commission is required by the Arizona Constitution to maintain its chief office in Phoenix and it is required by law to conduct monthly meetings.
In November 2000, the voters of Arizona approved a measure, placed on the ballot by the State Legislature, which expanded the size of the Commission from three to five Commissioners. The measure also changed the term of office from one six-year term to a four-year term with the possibility of reelection to one additional (consecutive) four-year term. The initial terms of the two new seats are for two years. In the case of a vacancy, the Governor appoints a Commissioner to serve until the next general election. The Commissioners choose one member from among themselves to serve as Chairman.
The Commissioners have the ultimate responsibility for final decisions on granting or denying rate adjustments, enforcing safety and public service requirements, and approving securities matters.
Doug Clark - Executive Director
The Director of the Commission Staff is the Executive Director. The Executive Director serves at the pleasure of the Commissioners and is responsible to the Commissioners for the day-to-day operations of the Agency. Section 40-105, Arizona Revised Statutes, outlines the powers and duties of the Executive Director's position. The Executive Director’s staff performs many administrative functions in conjunction with the agency divisions. These include preparing and posting the open meeting agendas, keeping records of all proceedings of the Corporation Commission, and coordinating civic activities and projects of benefit to the AZCC.
The Corporation Commission is organized into eight divisions: Administrative Services, Corporations, Hearings, Information Technology, Legal, Safety (Pipeline & Railroad), Securities, and Utilities. Each Division is headed by a Division Director who reports to the Executive Director.
Kim Battista - Deputy Executive Director / Administrative Services Director
Cristi Thatcher - Chief Financial Officer
Wendy Walther - Human Resources Manager
The Administrative Services Division is responsible for providing all accounting, payroll, purchasing, and personnel support for the Corporation Commission as well as budget preparation. The Corporation Commission’s budget is developed and submitted by the Administrative Services Division in coordination with the Executive Director and Division Directors within the AZCC.
Tanya Gibson - Corporations Division Director
Joey Ordonez - Corporations Division Assistant Director
The Corporations Division approves for filing all articles of incorporation for Arizona businesses; all articles of organization for limited liability companies; grants authority to foreign corporations to transact business in this state; propounds interrogatories when necessary to determine a company's lawful purpose; and revokes the corporate charters of those corporations which choose to not comply with Arizona law. The Division collects from every corporation an annual report which reflects its current status, business, and financial condition; maintains this information in a format conducive to public access; responds to public questions concerning Arizona businesses and corporation law; and responds to the needs of the business sector by disseminating whatever information is mission-critical to them in the most expedient and cost-effective manner possible.
Any significant changes to Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization for Limited Liability Companies in the form of amendments, mergers, consolidations, dissolutions or withdrawals are also filed with the Division. All filings are public record and available for inspection.
Jane Rodda - Chief Administrative Law Judge / Division Director
Sarah Harpring - Hearing Division Assistant Director
The Hearing Division has dual missions:
(1) to establish and preside over all procedural aspects of, and make substantive recommendations for the resolution of, all Commission cases that involve evidentiary hearings as well as many Commission cases that do not involve evidentiary hearings; and
(2) to operate the Commission's Docket Control Section, which is responsible for receiving all case filings made with the Commission and maintaining the Commission's eDocket system, through which the public may obtain access to all case filings and Commission decisions.
The Hearing Division's 11 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) exercise the Commission's authority to hold evidentiary hearings on cases involving the regulation and oversight of non-governmental utilities (public service corporations), pipeline and railroad crossing safety, and securities and securities salespersons and investment management advisors pursuant to Arizona's Securities Act and Investment Management Act. For each assigned case, the ALJ establishes the procedural requirements and schedules. If an evidentiary hearing is held, the ALJ presides over the formal hearing that involves opening statements, sworn witness testimony, cross-examination of witnesses, admission of documentary and other evidence, and closing statements or post-hearing briefs. In addition to evidentiary hearings, ALJs also preside over oral arguments, rulemaking oral proceedings, arbitrations, public comment proceedings, and procedural conferences/status conferences.
The assigned ALJ makes the substantive recommendations for the resolution of a case in the form of a Recommended Opinion and Order (if an evidentiary hearing, rulemaking oral proceeding, or arbitration has been held) or a Recommended Order (if no evidentiary hearing, rulemaking oral proceeding, or arbitration has been held). Commissioners consider each Recommended Opinion and Order/Recommended Order at an Open Meeting.
L. Butner - Information Technology Director
The Information Technology Division (IT) provides services and support such as application development, network services, hardware support, project management, and broadcast and media services for the entire Corporation Commission. The IT team is organized into four specialty areas:
Development – Our software developers specialize in software and computer programming. This team develops, maintains and enhances the various systems used by agency staff and the general public regarding cases, registration/licensing, complaints, investigations, compliance/enforcement, fees and accounting, purchase orders, and inventory management.
Support – The Support Center Team responds to all requests for assistance from agency staff and when appropriate, the public. The team works on all requests involving issues accessing printers, computers, and software on our network. The team also deploys new PCs and software and hardware upgrades or changes to existing PCs and other computing devices.
Systems – Our network specialists focus on integrating and maintaining the agency’s enterprise network hardware (servers, switches, etc.) and network software (e-mail, operating systems, data security, etc.) in support of both our internet and intranet capability.
Media Services - Our media services team does all the video broadcasting for the agency. They also create videos for Commissioners and Divisions, as well as some photography, such as new hire photos and on-site Division events, upon request and availability.
Robin R. Mitchell - Legal Division Chief Counsel/Division Director
Wesley Van Cleve - Legal Division Assistant Director
The Legal Division’s mission is to provide professional, high-quality legal representation to the Corporation Commission in the performance of all of its powers and duties, except for matters pertaining to the activities of the Securities Division.
The Legal Division provides legal assistance, advice and representation to the Commissioners and each Division of the Corporation Commission except the Securities Division. Matters handled by the Legal Division fall into five general categories: Commission dockets, federal regulatory dockets, litigation, other administrative matters and special projects.
Most of the Division's resources are devoted to Commission proceedings and to litigation. Major rate cases may have tens of millions of dollars in potential rate increases at stake, take several months to prepare, and require close coordination with the Commissioners, Staff and professional consultants.
Chris B. Watson - Safety Division Director
Joe Pinkerman - Railroad Safety Supervisor
Eric Villa - Pipeline Safety Supervisor
The Pipeline Safety Section enforces Pipeline safety standards and operating practices applicable to the transportation of gas and hazardous liquids by pipeline and the operation of liquefied natural gas facilities. Inspections are conducted on all interstate gas transmission and interstate hazardous liquid pipeline facilities.
The Railroad Safety Section enforces the Federal Safety Standards for track, signal, motive power and equipment, railroad operating practices, and the shipment of hazardous material by rail. The Railroad Safety Section is also responsible for inspection and review of industrial track, and rail-highway crossing construction projects.
Mark Dinell - Securities Division Director
Wendy Coy - Securities Division Assistant Director
The Securities Division strives to ensure the integrity of the securities marketplace through investigative actions as well as the registration and/or oversight of securities, securities dealers and brokers, investment advisers, and their representatives; to enhance legitimate capital formation; to minimize the burden and expense of regulatory compliance by a legitimate business.
The Division reviews prospective offerings of securities to ascertain that full and fair disclosure is made to potential securities investors and that the terms of offerings are not inherently fraudulent.
Certain securities dealers, salespersons, investment advisers, and investment adviser representatives are required to register with the Division. The Division reviews these applications and monitors the conduct of investment advisers, dealers, and salespersons; investigates possible violations; and when the evidence warrants, initiates administrative or civil actions or refers cases for criminal prosecution.
Elijah Abinah - Utilities Division Director
Ranelle Paladino - Utilities Division Assistant Director
Briton Baxter - Utilities Division Assistant Director
The Arizona Corporation Commission has jurisdiction over the quality of service and rates charged by public service utilities. By state law, public service utilities are regulated monopolies given the opportunity to earn a fair and reasonable return on their investments. What is fair and reasonable in any particular case has been and always will be open to debate in rate hearings before the Commission. Generally, the Commission tries to balance the customers' interest in affordable and reliable utility service with the utility's interest in earning a fair profit.
The Utilities Division makes specific recommendations to the Commissioners to assist them in reaching decisions regarding public utility rates, utility finance, and quality of service. The Division is responsible for researching and developing utility issues, providing information and evidence in Commission proceedings dealing with utility applications, and monitoring the quality of utility service, and the rates approved by the Commissioners. Additionally, Division staff inspects gas pipelines for safety, operates a railroad safety program, and maintains the official documents of proceedings before the Commission.
All rate changes require approval of the Commission in an Open Meeting. Staff preparation for a major rate hearing begins at the time of the utility's initial filing and takes approximately four to six months before the hearing takes place. Work efforts between the time of filing and hearing include a review of past Commission actions, a review of documents on file with the Commission, an audit of the books and records of the utility, discussions with utility personnel and other interested parties, formulation of the staff recommendation, an analysis of the impacts of the recommendation, and preparation of written testimony and schedules.
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