From the Office of Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson
For Immediate Release | 5-7-2021
Media Contact | Nick Debus
Direct | 602-542-0728
Thank you to the ratepayers throughout the state that reached out to my office about the recent Energy Rules proposal. Developing the Energy Rules was a long debate that lasted over four years with thousands of hours of public and stakeholder meetings.
I am disappointed with our final vote, and I support 100% clean energy and zero carbon emissions for the state of Arizona. However, to summarize the actions from the last meeting, I could not in good conscience support a rule in which we did not know the financial impact to the ratepayer.
Several amendments to the Energy Rules were presented during our meeting, which included additional reporting requirements and a change from “mandates” to “goals.” I have spoken previously about the importance of protecting families from rate increases that would create a financial hardship related to implementing the Energy Rules. Especially following the pandemic. Ultimately, I supported rational amendments that I thought were in the best interest of ratepayers throughout the state.
To me, the best solution to protect ratepayers was to modify the rules from a “mandate” to a “goal.” While a “mandate” would have essentially given the utilities a blank check to recover any and all costs associated with complying with the rule, a “goal” allows for accountability and flexibility as commissioners evaluate the costs, and allows commissioners to strike a balance between meeting the goals in the long-run and protecting ratepayers in the short-run.
Our two largest utilities have committed to clean energy and have announced individual goals to attain clean energy standards to their shareholders and their ratepayers. I believe setting an Arizona Energy Goal would put guardrails in place for our utilities and provide accountability with the updated integrated resource planning process and the all-source RFP that were part of the new rules.
Unfortunately, not all of the Commissioners agreed. I was concerned that the original rules would pass based on a political ideology rather than on a balanced approach that prioritized affordability and that it would be difficult to modify in the future. The rules were voted on and received support from myself and Commissioner O’Connor. Unfortunately, the other commissioners felt they could not support this effort, which brought an end to this formal process. It was a disappointing ending to many years of meetings and discussion. I fully stand with my vote to change the “mandate” to a “goal” and continue to support the goal to achieve 100% clean and zero carbon energy by Arizona.
I’ve been asked by many about the next steps for our Energy Rules. I’m not sure where we go from here, however, I’m optimistic that this is not the end and that we can continue to stand with Arizona ratepayers to achieve affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for our state.