PHOENIX - Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson of the Arizona Corporation Commission highlights the importance of reliable and affordable electricity for Arizona’s economy as the new year begins. Through collaboration, Arizona can maintain a safe and reliable grid at affordable rates and promote competition in the areas of Arizona’s regulatory system where competition makes sense.
“The need for ensuring safe and reliable power is essential for Arizona families and small businesses. It powers the air conditioning we need to keep cool in the Arizona heat; it sustains the medical devices that keep our citizens alive and well; and it empowers our commercial and industrial leaders to grow and prosper. Access to continuous, predictable, and affordable electric energy is literally a matter of personal and economic life and death in Arizona.”
“By learning from the mistakes of other states, Arizona’s regulatory structure is uniquely positioned to ensure its regulated electric utilities plan for regional needs, work collaboratively with one another, and foster competitive business practices in resource procurement and wholesale markets where appropriate to maximize economic benefits for customers. The regulatory compact in Arizona is an essential component of that structure and to keeping rates for safe and reliable electric service just and reasonable,” said Chairwoman Márquez Peterson. “Providing safe and reliable power at just and reasonable rates for Arizona families and small businesses is the Arizona way.”
This year, as utilities focus on infrastructure planning and keeping the lights on, the Arizona Corporation Commission will be considering rules that will require utilities to use “All-Source” “Requests for Proposals” or “RFPs” in selection of power resources. The goal is to allow utilities to focus on providing safe and reliable service, while supporting least-cost planning principles in the planning of utility resources and injecting competition into the overall procurement process—allowing independent power producers (such as wind, solar, and natural gas) to compete on equal footing for utilities’ business, helping to keep costs affordable for Arizona consumers.
“Utilizing All-Source RFPs as a supplement to good energy policy will help to keep investment costs competitive while utilities focus on providing safe and reliable service. When it comes to maintaining safe and reliable service at affordable rates for Arizonans, I believe Arizona’s utilities and consumers will get the best and most competitive deal possible for their money, while maintaining Arizona’s reputation as being one of the most reliable states in the nation.”
“I think competition in some specific areas, such as the competitive procurement of utility resources through all-source RFPs is appropriate and allows the Commission to play its part in broader statewide initiatives in a constructive way, without upending over a hundred years of reliable regulation and consumer protection.”
“In Arizona, utilities should seek to minimize total system costs and achieve efficient utilization of their generating resources, seek out and promote new markets for the sale and purchase of power, and continue to ensure a high degree of resource adequacy to support Arizona's growing economy so that Arizonans are protected against blackouts and brownouts from occurring at any time of the day or year under any resource mix.”
“At the end of the day, electric reliability and affordability are the pillars of Arizona’s prosperity, and they should continue to be supported in all major policy decisions in Arizona.”