ACC Rejects Energy Rules; Puts an End to Crucial Consumer Protections to Eliminate Waste, Save Billions

Media Contacts

Arizona PIRG Education Fund

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) and Arizona PIRG Education Fund denounced today’s action by the Arizona Corporation Commission to put an end to Energy Rules that would have ramped up energy-saving measures and saved Arizonans billions of dollars on their utility bills.

The Rules were developed through an extensive, years-long stakeholder process that reflected the input of thousands of supportive Arizonans. They were championed by a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including consumer and environmental advocates, fortune 500 companies, faith-based leaders, as well as Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

The Rules included a 10-year extension of the State’s Energy Efficiency Standard that would have expanded energy-saving programs for APS and TEP customers. These programs offer rebates and services to help Arizonans replace old air conditioners, swap out inefficient water heaters, upgrade lighting, and otherwise cut energy waste. Over the last decade, these initiatives have saved ratepayers more than $1.4 billion, avoided the need to construct 14 gas combustion turbines, saved more than 15 billion gallons of water, and enabled more than 40,000 jobs statewide.

The 3-2 vote to dismiss the rules was led by Chairwoman Lea Marquez Peterson (R) and Commissioners Justin Olson and Jim O’Connor (R).

Commissioners Anna Tovar (D) and Sandra Kennedy (D) supported the Rules’ passage, noting their importance for improving Arizona’s air quality, cutting customer bills, spurring investments in clean energy, and ensuring utilities procure the lowest cost sources of power.

Ellen Zuckerman, Utility Program Co-Director of SWEEP, said: “Today is a sad day for Arizona. The Commission failed to advance key consumer protections to eliminate energy waste and make everyone’s bills more affordable. After years of hard work and careful study, billions in potential cost savings and thousands of local jobs are now in jeopardy. We urge the Commission to immediately revisit today’s decision.”

Caryn Potter, Utility Program Manager with SWEEP added: “Energy efficiency programs save everyone money on their utility bills. With prices rising and everyday Arizonans struggling to afford basic needs like food and medicine, our elected regulators must take immediate action to cut energy waste and ensure affordable electricity. By failing to extend Arizona’s Efficiency Standard, the Commission has abdicated its responsibility to protect Arizona ratepayers, including our most vulnerable community members.”

“By voting against the Energy Rules, the Commission voted against providing certainty for businesses and ratepayers that want to see electric bills decrease and clean energy increase and instead has put voluntary decisions in the hands of the utilities,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.