Statement of Diane E. Brown on Arizona Corporation Commission Electric Energy Efficiency Rulemaking

Media Contacts
Diane E. Brown

Arizona PIRG Education Fund

On behalf of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, I want to again thank the Commission for recognizing the importance of and seeking to increase energy efficiency for the utilities under your jurisdiction.  As you are well aware, energy efficiency is a proven, immediate and effective way to save ratepayers money, which is particularly important during these hard economic times.

Today, we are entering an additional couple hundred postcards and petition signatures into the docket from concerned Arizonans supporting your efforts to increase energy efficiency to at least 20% by 2020.

In addition, we want to ensure the hundreds of other citizens, organizations and businesses who previously urged you to adopt an Energy Efficiency Standard of at least 20% by 2020 are counted as supporters of this Rule.  These energy efficiency supporters include:

  • Hundreds of citizens from Winslow to Eloy who wrote letters, signed petitions or otherwise have conveyed support to the Commission for increasing energy efficiency often pointing to their desire for improved public health or air quality.  From college students to senior citizens, there is recognition that on a daily basis, more and more Arizonans are turning on their computers, charging their cell phones, and powering their I-Pods.  Coupled with traditional energy uses such as watching TV, washing clothes, and running the refrigerator, the oven and the dishwasher, the list of what we use electricity for continues to grow and energy efficiency is understood to be the quickest, cheapest and cleanest way to meet our state’s growing energy needs.
  • Over 25 organizations from the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth in Flagstaff to the American Council of Consumer Awareness in Tucson who have encouraged the Commission to increase energy efficiency, many citing why this is important to their constituency and the importance of ongoing public participation and utility accountability as part of this process.
  • Over 50 businesses from Living Systems Sustainable Architecture in Prescott to the Downtown Deli in Phoenix who have signified their support to the Commission through highlighting the economic benefits of increased investment in energy efficiency.

As we have often stated Arizonans may have different reasons why they support energy efficiency – economic, public health, air quality, environmental or other benefits; across the state there is recognition and support to raise rates for an increase of effective energy efficiency programs which ultimately will save consumers and businesses money on their monthly electric bill.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund has previously provided the Commission with our Principles for the Electric System which includes the following:

  1. Access to safe, reliable, affordable electricity service.  The goal of electricity regulation should be to provide adequate, reliable service to consumers at the lowest cost – including external costs such as public health, economic and social impacts.
  2. Balance the long-term and short-term needs of consumers, as well as the interests of various classes of consumers.  Electricity rates should be designed to promote economically efficient and socially responsible outcomes – including energy efficiency, rate stability and the protection of low-income consumers.
  3. Consumers should be assured that the public interest guides all decisions with regard to the electric system.  Market and regulatory barriers that deter the use of energy efficiency should be removed.  System planning must take place in the public sphere, include ample opportunities for broad public participation in decision-making and ensure that the views of small consumers are adequately represented in the process.

Consistently, we have stated that increasing energy efficiency to at least 20% by 2020 tops the list of achieving the above principles. 

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund once again thanks the Commission for your efforts to increase energy efficiency and looks forward to working with Commissioners and Commission staff to ensure a strong Energy Efficiency Standard is successfully adopted and implemented.