The Arizona Corporation Commission on Jan. 26 voted against adopting proposed Energy Rules that would have required the state’s electric utilities to reduce their carbon emissions to combat climate change and pave the way for 100% clean energy for the state. The 3-to-2 vote came after months of a supplemental rulemaking process that followed the commission’s approval last May of the update that would have set emission standards for Arizona utilities.
“We hope the Arizona Corporation Commission’s rejection of these rules is not the final word on reducing Arizona electric utilities’ greenhouse gas emissions and moving Arizona to a clean energy future,” said Adam Stafford, Western Resource Advocates’ senior staff attorney in Phoenix. “The commission must regroup and develop a new path forward that allows Arizona to address the current climate crisis. The power sector provides some of the most cost-effective opportunities to reduce climate pollution. Arizona’s largest utilities have all said they want the regulatory certainty of a firm emissions reduction standard, and the business community has voiced support for that, as well. Our state needs strong standards for reducing the emissions that cause climate change and realizing the economic benefits of clean energy.”
The commissioners who voted against adoption largely attributed their decision to avoiding higher energy rates.
“When I ran for the Commission, I promised to pursue policies that will lead to the lowest rates possible while still maintaining safe and reliable services. I have sought to honor this pledge with each of my votes at the Commission and today’s vote was no exception. I proudly voted to respect the will of the voters and to protect the ratepayers from unwanted rate increases,” said Commissioner Justin Olson (R).
Commissioner Sandra Kennedy (D) expressed her disappointment in a statement after the vote.
“This is a sad day for Arizona. This vote is one of the worst that has occurred at the Commission in recent memory, and represents a sad turn against clean energy, energy efficiency, and smart grid solutions from three of my fellow Commissioners,” Kennedy said.