The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) plays an important role in our everyday lives. The commission regulates utilities (like water, electric, and gas), which means the decisions they make have a huge impact on everything from how much you pay for electricity each month, to the kinds of energy used to produce this electricity. Arizona is one of a handful of states that elects our corporation commission, which provides us the opportunity to elect candidates who are dedicated to a brighter, greener, and more resilient future for energy in our state.
The ACC has a total of five seats, two of which are up for election in November this year. Your electricity bill and the future of clean energy in our state lie in the hands of these five elected members — the ACC approves rate increase requests from companies like APS, votes on important regulations surrounding solar (like net metering), and so much more.
The Commission and its members have faced criticism and accusations of corruption over the years, especially when it comes to APS. The utility company has poured millions of dollars into previous elections to back certain ACC candidates (and oppose renewable energy initiatives), leading many to question the motivation behind decisions those members make once elected (like last year’s $95 million dollar rate hike for APS). Just last month, federal prosecutors brought charges against former Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce for allegations that indicate deep and scandalous corruption. The potential for huge utility companies or politics to influence the incredibly important decisions in the ACC’s hands is present and detrimental.
Though this race will be far down on your ballot this year, it is critical to pay attention to the candidates, their platforms, and their history. There are six candidates running for the available seats. Republican candidates include Tom Forese (incumbent), Rodney Glassman, Jim O’Connor, Justin Olson (incumbent) and Eric Sloan. Democratic candidates include Sandra Kennedy, Bill Mundell and Kiana Sears.
Sandra Kennedy, Bill Mundell, Kiana Sears, and Jim O’Connor have all committed to running clean elections. Additionally, Bill Mundell signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.
Electing candidates who promote clean energy and transparency will increase our progress toward a more sustainable future in Arizona. Consumers have the power to build an ACC that has everyone's best interests in mind. So, take time to vote in the upcoming ACC elections on November 6, 2018. Stay tuned to our blog, Facebook, and Twitter for updates about the election, and all things solar in Arizona.