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AZ Corporation Commission-Don’t make it appointed; abolish it

May 28, 2015

With respect to the Arizona Corporation Commission the age old question of whether it should be an appointed body or elected is once again in the news. This is a meaningless debate. I served at the Corporation Commission over 40 years ago and the same debate raged at that time. There were numerous studies that showed no difference in whether these regulatory bodies were elected or appointed. About half were elected and half appointed at that time.
However, there have been significant changes in the environment surrounding power generation that have occurred over these 40 years: we have many more competitive sources of energy and we have vastly improved communication vehicles. The bottom line is that the ACC is now worse than irrelevant; it is harmful because it is preventing new sources of energy from competing with the current model of the regulated utility. This simply gives consumers unnecessarily higher prices because we still have to pay for the utilities to argue with the regulators. We pay for the utility lawyers with through our electricity rates and we pay for the Commission lawyers through our taxes.
Instead of debating whether the ACC should be elected or appointed, let’s just abolish it and let market creativity bring us new ideas and cheaper power.

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