APS sues Arizona regulator for financial subpoena
- Arizona Public Service Co. has filed a lawsuit against a state regulator, arguing Commissioner Robert Burns is demanding the utility turn over information that it is not required to provide, the Arizona Republic reports.
- Burns in August issued a subpoena to the utility attempting to determine whether APS and its parent company Pinnacle West funded independent groups supporting election campaigns for the commission in 2014 using ratepayer money.
- Fellow ACC commissioners didn't support Burns' subpoena. The ACC voted 3-1 against his inquiry, and the chair of the commission has been highly critical of the move.
The largest utility in the state has said it is not required to disclose its support of candidates for the ACC, and according to The Arizona Republic, is suing Burns for legal fees.
"Commissioner Burns is demanding election-related disclosures based on his personal view that support for any particular [ACC] candidate should be open and transparent. ... Arizona law does not require the disclosure he demands," APS Vice President Barbara Lockwood wrote last week in a letter to the commission.
Burns wants to examine records dating back to 2011 that contain APS' charitable, political and lobbying expenses to see if the utility broke company policy of not being involved in electing candidates at the commission. His decision to continue the probe, without support from fellow commissioners, comes as he faces his own re-election campaign this year, with the support of SolarCity.
During the 2014 election, solar advocates questioned whether current commissioners Doug Little and Tom Forese held close ties with the state's utilities. APS faces allegations that it funneled $3.2 million into independent groups that supported their campaigns. Thus far, the utility has neither confirmed nor denied those claims.
Chairman Little has condemned Burns' attempts to investigate possible political influences at the commission. "You've been basically impugning my integrity for a year," Little said to Burns last month, before voting against the subpoena.
- The Arizona Republic APS launches legal strike against Arizona utility regulator
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