Corporation Commission got it right on recent rate case

The Arizona Corporation Commission’s decision to approve Arizona Public Service’s rate case last month was the right one. It was not only justified on the facts but also crucial for the continued economic prosperity and development of our state. 

Wise energy policy has been and continues to be central to the state’s economic development strategy. Arizona has flourished in part due to our commitment to energy choice, offering reliable and affordable electricity, natural gas, and renewable sources like solar. This commitment has set us apart from other states, and the Commission’s work to navigate the complexities of Arizona’s rate-setting process is reflective of its dedication to the important task of balancing the state’s energy needs with economic growth and sustainability. 

The battle to attract new jobs isn’t just a national one – it’s global – and energy rates play a significant role. Companies considering locating in Arizona carefully assess their operational costs, including energy expenses. The Commission’s decision in this case ensures that our state remains competitive when companies add up their projected spending, providing assurance to businesses that they will have access to reliable and affordable energy, enhancing our attractiveness as a destination for investment and job creation. 

Last summer’s record-breaking temperatures underscore the importance of a robust and resilient power grid. While other states experienced rolling blackouts and power outages, Arizona businesses and residents could count on our grid thanks to the investments and strategic planning of our utilities, and to the Commission for its support of these efforts. This reliability is not just a convenience but a fundamental necessity for industries like manufacturing to maintain 24/7 uptime. 

The substantial annual investments of approximately $1.5 billion by APS in grid maintenance demonstrate the utility’s commitment to reliability and resilience. These investments benefit businesses of all sizes and industries across its service territory, providing them with the stability and consistency necessary for success.

The diligence and foresight of the Commission in cases like this ensure APS and all Arizona utilities can keep pace with our rapid growth and continue investing in modern, less carbon-intensive infrastructure, essential for meeting the demands of today’s economy and securing Arizona’s position as a hub for future jobs. 

The members of the Corporation Commission have a tough job. They have to find that sweet spot that gives utilities the resources to ensure the state’s energy infrastructure remains reliable and modern, but without driving up rates to a level that causes Arizona to lose out on new jobs. 

A report from the real estate firm Newmark says metro Phoenix is the nation’s hottest manufacturing market thanks in part to our energy rates. If commissioners miss on a rate case decision, though, we fall from those lofty rankings and our economic outlook gets a little less rosy.

The decision in this rate case ensures Arizona job creators will have continued access to the reliable and affordable energy that is essential for our state’s economic prosperity. Credit to the commissioners for embracing their role as essential contributors to Arizona’s continued success as a leader in energy innovation and business development.

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