HB2789 – Should the Legislature Set Policy or the Corporation Commission?

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Phoenix) is sponsoring a bill that would from here on out prohibit the Arizona Corporation Commission from establishing policy – in most cases energy policy – and instead leave the policy making duties to the legislature.

Opponents of the bill state that establishing utility rates is, after all, the duty of the Corporation Commission.  They are right.  However, opponents of the bill also state that establishing the fee consumers must pay in order to obtain a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources falls within the commission’s rate-making ability.

They are wrong.  Crafting expensive energy policy and the rates consumers must pay is backward.  After all, the rate would not be higher if the commission didn’t establish the expensive energy policy.

Even without this bill, however, the legislature has options.  If the commission insists on doing the legislature’s job, the legislature could force them to do so with less funding from the state.