Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Just to clarify my position

In case readers are unsure of where I stand on the question of electric utility deregulation (after the blog post I put up last night), I have a couple of thoughts and will try to clarify.

First and most importantly, both investor owned utilities (like Arizona Public Service) and quasi-municipal companies (like Salt River Project) could and should have been leading the way on implementation of new technologies to transform the industry. Because those enterprises rely more on inertia than on innovation, they risk many things, including our health (clean air and water for starters) and their very existence.

Disruptive innovation that has transformed other industries can and will soon bring technologies that will -- cost effectively -- power our homes and workplaces in ways that are more in harmony with sustainable living on Planet Earth. Such innovation will also enhance reliability, dramatically reduce externalities (the costs to society from burning fossil fuels) and gradually, if not rapidly, reduce direct cost to consumers for electricity.

I agree with the objection raised recently by utility advocates, the editorial board of the Arizona Republic and columnist Bob Robb that the Arizona Corporation Commission should not abdicate its constitutional role in setting rates for consumers. That such issues are or can be separate and distinct from the possibility of changing the structure of retail electricity delivery systems seems simple -- conceptually -- even if it might take a bevy of engineers and attorneys to figure out how to implement.


5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You imply that you oppose it when you say, " That such issues are or can be separate and distinct from the possibility of changing the structure of retail electricity delivery systems seems simple -- conceptually -- even if it might take a bevy of engineers and attorneys to figure out how to implement."

      Am I interpreting that correctly? This is not a trick question.

      Delete
  2. I appreciate you asking for clarification. First, I didn't imply. You inferred. Second, I specifically indicated I agree with the objection raised by the Arizona Republic and columnist Bob Robb about ACC compliance with the constitutional mandate (which happens to be in Article 15, Sec. 3) to establish rates.

    Third, I specifically indicated that I believe Arizona utilities (regulated by ACC or not) have failed in terms of leading the way for transforming electrical generation and distribution systems to use of modern technologies. I also specifically indicated my support for enabling Arizona utility customers to benefit from related disruptive innovations.

    I believe that the objection raised by the Republic does not and should not prevent the ACC from development of classifications and rules that would allow enterprises -- other than the current geographically applicable monopolies -- to offer alternatives for electricity generation and delivery.

    I believe that enabling such alternatives can be done in an environment that recognizes and obviates the market abuses that were a big part of problems encountered with the California deregulation experiment (debacle) more than a decade ago.

    Thus, I believe the process for enabling electric utility retail technology competition -- without the ACC abdicating the constitutional mandate for establishing fair rates -- will be painstakingly detailed and involve attorneys and engineers willing and able to develop those mechanisms.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Further, I support legislation sponsored by Rep. Sherwood last spring like HB2584 and resolutions like HCR2023.

    I also know (understand) that both APS and SRP have a very strong hold on the Arizona Legislature. Undoubtedly, both APS and SRP view techology innovations Brenda Burns advocated in her op-ed last Friday as highly threatening. You must, John, look beyond what corporate lobbyists want you to do.

    ReplyDelete