Arizona Corporation Commission Stops Looking Into Deregulation

On Wednesday, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted to close its docket on electricity deregulation, based on concerns over the constitutionality of a deregulated electricity market in Arizona. The issue had been on the table since May, when the ACC opened a docket to explore the possibility of allowing consumers to choose their electricity provider in a competitive market.

The all-Republican Commission presumably supports the idea of deregulated markets but was constrained by Arizona's constitution and prior court opinions on the issue. Specifically, Article 15, Section 3 of the state constitution requires the ACC to set electricity rates: "The corporation commission shall have full power to, and shall, prescribe ... just and reasonable rates and charges to be made and collected, by public service corporations within the State for service rendered therein ... ." In a 2004 decision dealing with the ACC's prior attempt to deregulate electricity markets, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that deregulation was essentially an abdication of the ACC's constitutional responsibility to set rates. Phelps Dodge Corp. v. Arizona Elec. Coop., 207...

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