Outline of Priorities to be Achieved during the First 100 Days as Chair:
Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson on Monday was elected to serve as Chair for the Arizona Corporation Commission following her election to the Commission in November 2020. Chairwoman Márquez Peterson is the first Latina to serve in public
office in Arizona at a statewide level and the first Chairwoman to serve from Southern Arizona. 2021 also marks the first time since the Commission’s founding in 1912 that the public will be served by a majority female Commission, representing
a bipartisan mix of Commissioners in Arizona. Chairwoman Márquez Peterson offered the following remarks and priorities for her tenure as Chair of the Commission:
Thank you to my fellow Commissioners for your belief in me and for electing me to serve as your Chair. We faced intense challenges last year and have also made incredible progress. We’ve set the stage for short-term and long-term priorities and
objectives we can accomplish together, moving forward.
In my first 100 days as your Chairwoman, I will focus on the following immediate priorities:
- Together making necessary and prudent updates to the direction and workload of Commission Divisions, Structure, and Staff.
- Identifying and addressing the Commission’s unwritten policies and procedures and helping to establish increased transparency and consistency for the Commission.
- Passing an order filing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Arizona Secretary of State to initiate the Commission’s permanent disconnection rules, while also working with fellow elected officials in the Legislature on the appropriate temperature
that is in the public interest.
- Helping to bring high-speed Internet and economic development to rural communities through a broadband transition of the Arizona Universal Service Fund High-Cost Fund.
- Instituting a Streamlined Rate Review process for small water companies throughout the state and providing gradualism to ratepayers.
- Implementing rate case policies to reduce our Staff’s workload and the costs third parties face when litigating both the least and most contentious issues.
- Working to earn my fellow commissioners’ support on both forest biomass and a just transition for tribes and coal impacted communities that includes a state-wide approach, including the governor and state legislature.
Beyond the first 100 days of my chairmanship, I have numerous other objectives and aims for the Corporation Commission. All of these will require cooperation and collaboration with my fellow Commissioners, Staff, and most importantly, Arizona residents.
- First, we must revisit and reinforce our pending Clean and Affordable Energy Rules to accomplish progressive outcomes through the use of conservative principles and regulatory mechanisms.
- Next, we must investigate and implement Performance Incentive Mechanisms for utilities of all kinds in Arizona. Such mechanisms shall address traditional performance areas such as energy efficiency, grid reliability, and safety.
- Third, let’s work diligently to improve the efficiency of Small Water Companies, which can be done through acquisitions and regional consolidation.
- Fourth, we must continue to develop our programs for workforce and supplier diversity. Last, but not least, let’s take the crucial and necessary step to rehabilitate Arizona’s regulatory climate. This can be achieved by: restoring the
public’s trust in the Commission, its Staff, and its Commissioners; improving the Commission’s working relationship with the Legislature; striving to be a hard-working, informed, and educated body of Commissioners; and addressing the
Commission’s unwritten internal policies and procedures to apply policies consistently and issue decisions and policies that are fair, balanced, and reasonable for all parties involved
Our great state is at a crossroads. As we begin to recover from the depths of this pandemic, Arizonans want, and deserve, an Arizona Corporation Commission that is united, forward-looking, and prepared to confidently overcome challenges which will
arise. Let’s work as one team whenever possible to create the most effective and impactful Arizona Corporation Commission possible. Thank you.