- Following the Arizona Corporation Commission's approval of new rates for the state's largest electric utility, Commissioner Bob Burns has asked the state's Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
- The new rates will add about $6 to a customer's bill, but Burns said the process used by the ACC was flawed and illegal.
- According to The (Arizona) Daily Courier, Burns' allegations relate to his longstanding tussle with APS and other commission members over dark money funding independent groups that supported two ACC commissioners' campaigns in 2014.
Burns has asked the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn this month's rate case. There is no legal precedent for this, according to Capitol Media Services. Reporter Howard Fischer spoke with Burns, who conceded an action like this has never taken place — but he insists it is necessary.
“There hasn’t been interference or participation or whatever the proper term is of utilities in elections at the rate that APS that decided to get into them up to this point,” he told CMS.
State regulators earlier this month voted 4-1 to increase APS rates and approve a settlement with solar advocates that establishes a new compensation scheme and allows customers to lock in their rate for years. The commission's decision means a typical residential customer will see bills rise 4.5%, or about $6/month.
But Burns says the decision is not valid because he was unable to determine if utility funding of political campaigns had any influence over the decision.
The commissioner, the lone vote against APS' rate case, has pressed for campaign finance records from the 2014 election cycle to be made public by the utility and its parent company, Pinnacle West. Without support from his fellow commissioners, Burns subpoenaed financial records dating back to 2011. Earlier this month the ACC voted to hire five lawyers to defend four commissioners and the ACC itself against a lawsuit brought by Burns.