Dawn of a new day at Corporation Commission?
After years of pursuing a command-and-control approach to energy regulation and providing massive corporate welfare to the solar industry, the Arizona Corporation Commission has signaled a possible shift in approach.
In his first comments as the ACC's new chairman, Bob Stump promised to champion "the cleanest AND most affordable forms of energy." Renewable energy is clean—though it often uses copious amounts of water, a rather scarce commodity in these parts—it is emphatically not cheap.
"I refuse to bet on, or chearlead for, any one form of technology," Stump declared, saying that he chooses instead "to pursue a path in which adequate, reliable service is ensured and rates are just and reasonable."
This is particularly refreshing in light of past ACC decrees. The Commission's renewable energy standards mandate that 15 percent of all energy come from prescribed renewable sources, with every penny of added costs tacked onto utility bills as surcharges. Add to that a plethora of solar subsidies granted by both the state and the Commission, and we are awash in high-cost energy.
Energy sources should be prescribed by the market laws of supply and demand, not by government dictate. Chairman Stump holds that out as a possibility. "We should examine carefully how other states have fared under retail competition," Stump remarked, "and ponder whether the time is right for Arizona to ponder a similar path."
It is. With taxes and healthcare costs rising and the economy still in a slump, Arizona should lead the way in allowing all forms of energy to compete, rather than favoring one particular type of energy with cost as no object. The solar industry competes especially well in the political arena. Let them compete as well in the energy market—and may the best and most efficient form of energy prevail.