Tom Chabin & Bill Mundell – The Clone Candidates

Tom Chabin & Bill Mundell - The Clone Candidates

If you look at the websites of liberal Democrat candidates Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell you’ll see they’re practically clones. They both use header photos from Roosevelt Lake, including a photo of Roosevelt Dam; the language is identical with the exception of their names and the layouts are inverse. Not much creativity and not much diversity.

(Incidentally, Roosevelt Dam is operated by the Salt River Project (SRP) and is not under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Read why here.)

That’s what you’d end up getting on the Arizona Corporation Commission if these two green corporatists get elected in November.

Both campaigns are running exclusively on the message that Arizona Public Service is evil and bazillion dollar deals are taking place in smoky backrooms.

What they won’t tell you is that the leftist-controlled “green” corporations will be working behind the scenes to make these two Democrats carry their agenda.

And what is the agenda of these big green corporations? To keep the flow of ratepayer and taxpayer dollars to the solar industry and other heavily-subsidized green corporations.

These are the companies that have imploded or gone bankrupt like Solyndra, Abengoa and SunEdison.

Don’t be fooled by all the hyperbole rhetoric by Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin over “dark money.” They themselves will be the beneficiaries of dark money as Big Solar dumps millions of dollars into the Arizona Corporation Commission race to get them elected.

For Big Solar and the other green corporatists, it’s about getting votes on the Commission so they can ramrod policies through that hurt taxpayers, ratepayers and cost thousands of jobs.

This election, beware the clone candidates who will open the door wide to disastrous Obama green energy policies right here in Arizona.

 

 

Democrats File Dark Signatures for Arizona Corporation Commission

Tom Chabin Bill Mundell

Yellow Sheets posted the press release of Democrat candidates for Arizona Corporation Commission, Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin.

The subheader for their press release proudly proclaimed, “Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell each file approximately 9,000 signatures.” The 9,000 claim was also posted on Mundell’s FaceBook page. There’s only one problem. That number isn’t correct.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State website, both candidates filed hundreds below the 9,000 number they claimed on their joint press release. (By the way, are Mundell and Chabin running as a team with shared expenditures?) Bill Mundell filed a total of 8,345 while Tom Chabin filed 8,483 signatures – not quite the 9,000 boldly professed.

Hmmmm… For two Democrat candidates running solely on a theme against “dark money,” we have to wonder if their nominating petitions contained hundreds of dark signatures?

Rick Gray Files Nomination Signatures for Arizona Corporation Commission

RickGray

RICK GRAY, SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND CANDIDATE FOR THE ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION FILES OVER 9,200 SIGNATURES FROM ALL 15 COUNTIES.

Phoenix – May 25 – Rick Gray, successful businessman, three-term State Representative and candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission filed more than 9,200 signatures, almost double the number required by law to qualify for the ballot. These 9,200 signatures represent voters from all 15 counties.

“As I have met with voters in every county of the state, I am sincerely humbled by the support my campaign is receiving,” stated Gray. “Collecting over 9,200 signatures would not have been possible without the incredible help that our campaign has received from great people all across Arizona. This was truly a team effort. I am thankful to each and every person who signed my petition and all those who have worked so hard alongside me to get my name on the ballot. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Arizona on the Corporation Commission as their Commissioner.”

# # #

RIckGraySOS

WE DID IT…WITH A LOT OF HELP!

THANK YOU to EVERYONE across
the state who helped make this happen!
It was definitely a team effort!

Collecting 9,201 signatures was a monumental task…but WE DID IT with A LOT of HELP! But we aren’t across the finish line yet. We are still in the process of collecting $5 contributions towards our clean elections funds. We need to collect 2,040 individual $5 contributions in order to qualify for clean elections. We are more than half way to our goal but need your help to cross the finish line and wrap this up by June 15th. To learn more about Clean elections, click here.

Please consider donating $5 to the campaign. You can do this online but if you’d prefer you can also download the qualifying contribution form, fill it out and mail it to us. Any AZ registered voter, regardless of party affiliation can donate $5.

Thank you so much for all your help and support.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 623.340.8091 with any questions.

Regards,

Rick Gray

About Rick Gray: Rick is a successful businessman, three-term State Representative serving Legislative District 21. During his time in the House he served as the House Majority Whip, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Vice Chair of Rules and of Commerce and as a member of the Appropriates, Way & Means, County & Municipal Affairs Committees. Rick is running as a Clean Election candidate and $5 donations can be contributed at www.VoteRickGray.com/support For more information about Rick or his campaign for Arizona Corporation Commission visit www.VoteRickGray.com

Big Solar launches ballot initiative to keep corporate crony deal in place

Interesting political developments taking place over the last 10 days in Arizona regarding energy policy.

Big solar has decided to go on offense by exercising the “nuclear option” and launching an initiative in an attempt to lock in ratepayer-funded subsidies in the Arizona Constitution.

Last Tuesday, a group called “Energy Choice for America” registered as an independent expenditure committee with the Arizona Secretary of State. In its filing it stated that it would be supporting a ballot measure but did not list the name of ballot measure. The group’s chairman is listed as Kris Mayes – a former Arizona Corporation Commissioner.

Three days later on April 15, a group called “Yes on AZ Solar, In Support of C-09-2016” filed registration papers with the Secretary of State’s office. This committee registered in support of a ballot measure but listed the ballot measure as “None exists yet.” Kristin Mayes was listed as the group’s chairman.

On Monday (18th), another group called “Energy Choice for America in Support of C-09-2016” registered as a committee in support of a ballot measure – obviously, C-09-2016. Again, the chairman was listed as Kristin Mayes.

Finally, on Tuesday (19th), another independent expenditure committee called “Save Our AZ Solar” filed papers in support of an unnamed ballot measure. The chairman? You guessed it – Kris Mayes.

So why these committees and why is Kris Mayes at the center of all these committees?

First, a brief background on the current dismal state of rooftop solar companies. Anyone following the industry knows that these corporations have been on a major energy bubble waiting to burst. Fueled by political agendas and taxpayer subsidies, public policy has attracted companies attempting to take advantage of a solar-friendly political climate and of course, those big green profits. Companies like SunEdison have over promised and under delivered while they’ve taken on tremendous debt to lease their products to customers.

Thursday, SunEdison announced it was going into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

We saw a similar situation with Spain-based Abengoa Solar which was working on a project near Gila Bend.

The industry in many ways has become so big, it is failing and it’s failing miserably on its own accord.

Bringing this back to Arizona politics, news of these collapses couldn’t happen at a worse time for politicos seeking to make it a ballot issue for voters.

The formation of these political committees is all part of a last ditch effort by the imploding rooftop solar corporations to cement into Arizona’s Constitution their right to your ratepayer subsidies. Big solar corporations are asking voters to demand that government pick big solar companies as the winner and recipient of utility profits. And don’t be surprised if they use all kinds of fear and loathing messaging to persuade voters to vote for their “free” government money.

It is a horribly inflexible way to make public policy by allowing special interests to seek a corporate crony deal in an ever-changing energy market that requires flexibility.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]This is what happens when government creates an incentive for so-called green corporations – they pursue green paper instead of pursuing green energy.[/pullquote]

So why did Big Solar choose Kris Mayes to chair their political committees? She lends credibility to their agenda and effort. Mayes served on the Arizona Corporation Commission from 2003-2010 and helped write the Arizona Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) which forces Arizona utilities to produce and deliver a 15% of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, etc. by 2025. Until the initiative announced, Mayes served as a senior sustainability scholar with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

While I have a tremendous respect for Kris Mayes and ASU’s Schools of Sustainability, as a conservative/libertarian, I do have to disagree with those policy objectives that  increase the size and role of government – especially when the consequences are a disruption to free market economies and a reduction of freedom and the well-being of individuals. There is nothing sustainable about government subsidies and dependency. (Conservatives should actually “own” the word “sustainability!”)

With Big Solar behind this initiative and Kris Mayes as their spokesperson, we can expect millions of dollars to pour into the campaign. In a recent Arizona Republic article, Mayes revealed that “‘significant’ resources will be put in the campaign.”

Thursday it was reported that SolarCity Inc. has already donated $3 million to the campaign. And in a tweet by reporter Rachel Leingang on Wednesday, the committee was already hiring petition circulators off Craigs List at $5 a signature.

A minimum of 225,963 signatures is needed to qualify for the ballot. Doing the math on those numbers shows that it will cost the committee $1,129,815 just to pay for the minimum number of signatures. Most committees try to build a buffer of 15-20% over minimum. Most committees running a “popular” initiative, don’t have to pay for signatures.

That means Big Solar is willing to pay big bucks to keep the subsidies flowing to their business. For them, its the cost of doing business even if it means carving out a special place in the Arizona Constitution.

One of my primary motives for writing columns like this is I’m angered by the injustice of what the rooftop solar is attempting to do to unaware people. These companies will tell a prospective customer that they can generate all their own electricity and that any extra electricity can be sold back to the grid. These companies will sign up customers for a long term lease and install the equipment on their rooftops (free rent to park their units.) The customer will be told they’re helping the environment and saving money on their utility bill (relatively true statements).

But what Big Solar doesn’t really focus on with the customer is who owns the the equipment and that there is a margin between the retail rate and the wholesale rate at which the customer “sells back” their electricity. That margin adds up to big profits for rooftop solar companies.

At the same time, solar rooftop customers do not pay for the cost to maintain and upgrade the main grid. That cost is shifted to non-solar customers to pay. If you’re someone concerned about equity, it’s anything but fair as those folks who are more likely to qualify for a long-term solar lease shift the cost of maintaining the grid to those who cannot afford or qualify for solar leases.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It’s a big racket for Big Solar and they’re willing to spend big money to keep their big profits in place – by enshrining it into our state constitution.[/pullquote]

When Arizona utility companies revealed these disparities to the Arizona Corporation Commission and suggested more equitable policy changes like elimination of net metering or demand charges, Big Solar went on the warpath. It’s why they’ve launched their initiative “The Arizona Solar Energy Freedom Act.”

If you are a rooftop solar customer, don’t be surprised to see a signature gatherer show up at your doorstep carrying a petition. Big Solar has your name and address and they’re not worried about sharing your private information with the super PAC’s hiring people off Craig’s List to knock on your door and warn you that the sky is falling.

Watch for Big Solar’s “Arizona Solar Energy Freedom Act” and remember, it’s anything but free.

Orchestrated Confusion Over UniSource Proposal at Lake Havasu Corporation Commission Hearing

Reading the latest news story in the Lake Havasu News Herald, it would appear that operative from the rooftop solar industry have caused just enough confusion among ratepayers that the latest proposal to bring economic sense and equity to the energy market will require yet another hearing.

Thursday, in accordance with Arizona law, the Arizona Corporation Commission conducted a hearing in Lake Havasu to hear from ratepayers over a request by UniSource to modify its rate structure in order to iron out inequities in the way customers purchase electricity from the UniSource portion of the grid.

One of those changes would be the implementation of “demand charges” – a concept that charges a customer based on the highest demand placed by that customer during a given unit of time. Most demand is placed on the entire grid during early morning hours and early evening hours when users turn on more electrical loads in their households. It is at that time that the grid experiences its heaviest loads that ultimately costs in maintenance, repairs and even brownouts. (Read my earlier post on this concept.)

The UniSource request would allow the utility company to recover the costs of this demand while reducing costs during non-peak demand times.

Additionally, the request would also allow UniSource to adjust the price it purchases (credits) energy from rooftop solar users through net metering. Currently, that rate is sold back to utility companies at an inflated rate. That inflated rate is shifted to non-solar users who pay the difference causing an economic inequity. There are far fewer rooftop solar users than non-solar users so non-solar users are burdened by this rate inequity.

If approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, UniSource’s request would not take effect until 2017 and rooftop solar users who purchased or began their leases before June 1, 2015 would be grandfathered into the proposal.

The political takeaway of this is that the rooftop solar industry has partaken of this form of corporate cronyism for too long. Because of a nationwide agenda to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, the solar energy industry has been heavily subsidized and given special breaks through policies like net metering. The industry cannot survive without some form of government intervention and when government pulls out and allows the market to adjust, these companies oftentimes go bankrupt leaving consumers on the hook and employees without jobs.

Here in Arizona, the battle to keep net metering in place is being waged at town hall meetings like we see in Lake Havasu.

NonSolarCustomers

When a utility company like UniSource proposes a innovative compromise to allow the free market to adjust properly to the benefit of all consumers, they are met with chaos and confusion orchestrated by the rooftop solar industry. These companies pay their lobbyists to circulate among a community to stoke the fears of ratepayers and senior citizens on fixed incomes.

What they won’t tell you is that they want a bigger bite at the apple of government subsidies and special deals. Meanwhile, its the ratepayers who bear the burden – those who cannot afford $40,000 systems and those who were told sunny days were ahead when they leased one.

Corporation Commissioners will conduct another hearing in Lake Havasu sometime in the next two weeks.

Guest Opinion: Demand-based rate strategy makes sense

Media coverage of the electricity rate case filed by UniSource Energy Services (UES) has promoted dire predictions from California-based rooftop solar leasing companies that oppose the proposal. We encourage every utility customer to consider the facts of the UES case.

UES has proposed residential rates that reflect both total energy use and peak energy use, or “demand.” This makes sense because utility costs are driven by the need to satisfy customers’ energy demands during peak periods. Arizona business owners have been paying demand-based rates for years and have found them to be fair, simple and easy to use. They include a basic service fee, a relatively low usage-based charge and a demand charge that’s based on their highest monthly power use.

Critics claim demand rates are “too confusing.” As smart thermostats and app technology grow ever smarter, this claim falls short. Demand rates give consumers a new way to save money by managing their use of electric appliances during peak usage periods. Smart technology can help customers take advantage of demand rates to lower their bills significantly. At the same time, reducing energy usage during peak times helps ensure the stability of the power grid statewide.

Because demand charges would be offset by lower energy use charges, most residential customers would see little impact from the proposed change. In fact, the UES proposal protects customers by reducing the generous subsidies handed to rooftop leasing companies at the expense of the 98 percent of consumers who don’t have solar. That’s why we’re hearing the loud voice of protest from the solar industry’s PR machine. UES’s proposal will create a sustainable free market for clean energy and send the right price signals to encourage future energy innovation. That’s important to every Arizona business. All of us want our state to stay at the forefront of the clean energy movement and to continue to create jobs in that growing sector.

Unfortunately, jobs have become a political pawn for the rooftop leasing companies. In Nevada, these companies fired their own workers and fled the state as punishment after policy changes took the brunt of subsidy payments off the backs of non-solar customers. They’ve threatened the same punitive behavior in our state. This “take our toys and go home” approach will hurt Arizona families and our economy. As reputable case studies and testimony explain in detail, rooftop leasing companies can continue to make ample profit under a demand rate structure should they elect to compromise, rather than litigate and flee to other states where generous profits are still to be had on the backs of non-solar customers.

Using employees’ paychecks as a bargaining chip is wrong. So is intentionally disrupting the businesses of local installers – the very people the California-based national giants once claimed they wanted to help.

Arizona needs an energy policy that encourages a broad array of technologies and the highest degree of freedom and fairness for all power users. The more control consumers have – absent subsidies paid by the vast majority of power users to fund technology for the few – the better off our state will be. To hear the rooftop solar leasing companies tell it, you would think the goal of energy policy should be whatever helps them sell the most systems at the largest profit.

We take a broader view. We sincerely hope the Arizona Corporation Commission will take that broader view as well.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Lea Marquez Peterson is the president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Utility ‘Demand Charges’ Offers Best Solution to Utility Costs Problem

In a prior post I provided a primer on the economics and politics of the rooftop solar industry in Arizona. Net metering was essentially a solution to the initial introduction of rooftop solar into the residential consumer market. The rooftop solar industry took advantage of the political process by carving out a government-sanctioned incentive in the market that allowed them to operate and profit despite harsh economic realities in the renewable energy market.

Rooftop solar companies lease their solar panel system to consumers because the vast majority of consumers cannot afford a system that costs tens of thousands of dollars.  They needed an effective marketing message to “sell consumers” on leasing their product – an incentive to overcome the objection of cost. Thus net metering was offered as an incentive.

Here’s how it works. Most consumers do not use all the electricity generated by their rooftop system throughout the day. Net metering allows any excess electricity to be “sold” back to the main electrical grid. Consumers effectively build up a credit for the excess power they provide back to the grid. The amount of that credit is based on a retail rate that is higher than the wholesale market rate offered on the grid.

That difference between retail and wholesale electric rates is what has become the center of dispute between the rooftop solar industry and utility companies. It adds up to millions of dollars.

Utility companies argue that the cost to repair, maintain and upgrade the main power grid has not been taken into account as the market for rooftop solar has expanded. As utility companies continue the practice of net metering and purchasing back electricity at a rate higher than market value, it is negatively impacting the cost to maintain our electrical infrastructure. These costs ultimately get passed on to ratepayers, especially those who cannot afford to install and lease expensive rooftop solar systems. The result is that rooftop solar customers are paying less than non rooftop solar customers for the maintenance and improvement of our power grid.

This is where the idea of a “demand charges” becomes an economic and equitable solution for all users of the grid.

Rather than continuing an unfair solar net metering policy that gives wealthier ratepayers an advantage over lower income ratepayers when it comes to maintaining the grid, why not charge individuals for the demand that they actually place on the grid?

Most electricity consumers put most of their demand on the system during the early morning and early evening. It’s part of our daily routine: wake up, eat, prepare for work and head off to work. In the early evening, we come home, cook, clean and entertain ourselves before repeating the same routine the next day. Now aggregate that across millions of households and its easy to see how residential demand on the grid spikes twice a day.

Demand charges are determined by the maximum amount of electricity demanded by a consumer during a specific measure of time such as a day, week or billing period. This is the cost or strain placed on the grid when turning on appliances, air conditioning, etc. and is especially prevalent here in Arizona during summer months. Consumers who run all their appliances at the same time every day place a higher demand on the grid than those who spread their use of their appliances out over the same 24 hour period.

Here is a video put out by a South African utility company explaining the concept of energy demand charges:

Here in Arizona, the Arizona Corporation Commission is hearing a request from Tucson’s Unisource Energy Services – the utility that provides power to rural and southern Arizona. In its request it is seeking a rate increase and structure for ratepayers in Mohave and Santa Cruz County in order to alleviate the burden on the power grid and non-rooftop solar ratepayers. The request includes adjusting the net metering rates to current market values and implementing “demand charges” that allow it to compensate for the demand on the grid.

California-based rooftop solar companies are lined up in opposition to the changes and have even threatened to pull out of Arizona cutting hundreds of local jobs. These are the same companies who are profiting off the artificially-priced subsidy set in net metering. If UNS wins approval of the market rate adjustment in its net metering rate request, only new solar installations will receive the market-adjusted subsidy.

The UNS request also includes approval for a “demand charge” meant to cover the costs associated with peak demand. This charge would be optional for residents and small businesses but would be mandatory for any new rooftop solar installations which “create new cost burdens and reliability concerns for utilities and their customers.”

If approved, such changes will begin the process of correcting manipulations in the market and reducing special subsidies for residential rooftop solar industry.

As someone who opposes government sanctioned subsidies, it’s time that solar users finally help cover the cost of the grid that non-solar users have been paying for without receiving any benefit. Implementing “demand charges” and adjusting the net metering rate are necessary decisions to restore a free market solution to a corporate cronyism problem. It’s the fair and economically sound thing to do and maintain the reliability of our power grid to the benefit of all consumers.

The Economics and Politics of Solar Net Metering

It’s been some time since I’ve written on the topic of solar energy and the utility industry. This area has always interested me given my background in nuclear power, energy services and Arizona politics. In recent years, my curiosity with the off-grid lifestyle and homesteading has also fueled that interest.

Originally, I wrote from the perspective that the big utility monopolies were taking advantage of ratepayers by pushing for changes in net metering that would result in hurting the rooftop solar industry. It was the classic David vs Goliath narrative.

That was incorrect.

What further economic and policy research revealed was that the solar industry was actually being heavily subsidized by ratepayers via cost shifting from solar customers to non-solar customers. In other words, the full and long-term cost of energy was being redistributed from the solar haves to the solar have-nots.

Rooftop solar is still fairly expensive to the average consumer. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars in up front cost to purchase a full system for your home. Cost is one of the main reasons why the vast majority of consumers opt for a lease arrangement

Rooftop solar companies and policy makers figured out early on that they needed to create an incentive for consumers to move toward expensive solar. Thus, net metering was established.

You’ve probably heard about selling your solar energy back to the grid or spinning your meter backwards. This is an arrangement in which a customer who is generating electricity from their solar panels is sending any excess electricity back to the grid for distribution to other energy users. This practice reduces the energy cost to the solar customer by creating a credit. Utility companies have been crediting consumers at a retail rate rather than a wholesale rate. That retail rate is above the true market value of electricity and is actually a cost to utility companies which have to operate and maintain the grid. Those costs are ultimately shifted over to non-solar users who pick up the tab for not having solar.

Here’s a video put out by a electric cooperative that helps explains the cost shifting.

As you can guess, this was driven by policy makers who wanted to create an incentive for consumers to transition to cleaner solar energy generation and away from a dependency of fossil fuels – a laudable goal.

But there’s also a political motive in driving consumers to solar. As part of the leasing arrangement, some rooftop solar companies sell the excess energy back to the utility companies at the higher retail rate and pocket the difference above the wholesale rate and why shouldn’t they?

The rooftop solar industry found a way to “rent seek” and use public policy to protect the practice – even at a cost to the broader energy market

This reminds me of another moment in Arizona history when the Arizona legislature passed a law creating a tax credit for those who purchased or converted their vehicles to run on alternative fuels. Almost overnight, an industry of alt-fuel conversion companies sprung up in Arizona. Thousands sought conversions and these companies benefited from the special law. What was supposed to cost Arizona taxpayers $10 Millions ended up costing $200 Million. It was a major public policy failure that demonstrated the law of unintended consequences at the cost of Arizona taxpayers.

Here in Arizona over the last two years, the rooftop solar industry and utility companies have been engaged in a heated battle over the economics of solar energy and net metering policy. Ultimately, the Arizona Corporation Commission decides on any changes to policy which may include an adjustment in the rate that ratepayers sell back their solar electricity to the grid.

Rooftop solar companies like SolarCity have insisted that any reduction in the net metering rate will take the incentive away from consumers to go solar therefore hurting the Arizona rooftop solar industry. APS argues that non-solar ratepayers are paying the cost to maintain the entire grid while solar-users are being subsidized.

Corporation Commissioners have tried to broker a compromise with industry leaders. Meantime, the politics of this battle continue to play out as challenger candidates threaten to replace current commissioners and special interest groups promise to engage in the 2016 election.

The problem with net metering may all be resolved by this summer as other proposals emerge. One indication of a solution may be seen over the next few weeks as one smaller Arizona utility offers an alternative to how it bills residential ratepayers. That alternative is called “demand charges” and I’ll explain in a later post how it provides a workaround to the problem of net metering.

AG Mark Brnovich Files Petition to Remove Commissioner Bitter Smith From Office

Brnovich

Phoenix, AZ – Attorney General Mark Brnovich today filed a Petition for Special Action to remove Arizona Corporation Commissioner (“Commissioner”) Susan Bitter Smith from office. The Petition filed this morning in the Arizona Supreme Court is the result of an ongoing investigation regarding an alleged violation of a conflict of interest statute. The Attorney General’s Office alleges Bitter Smith is ineligible to hold office because of her conflict of interest as a registered lobbyist and executive for a trade association of cable companies regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”).

“Arizonans deserve fair and impartial regulators,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We filed this case today to protect the integrity of the Commission and to restore the faith of Arizona voters in the electoral process. Arizona law clearly prohibits a Commissioner from receiving substantial compensation from companies regulated by the Commission.”

On September 2, 2015, the Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) launched an investigation into Bitter Smith after receiving a formal complaint against her. The AGO investigation found Bitter Smith receives over $150,000 per year for her trade association work, on top of her $79,500 salary as a Commissioner.  Arizona State Statute 40-101 prohibits Commissioners from being employed by or holding an official relationship to companies regulated by the Commission. The law also prohibits Commissioners from having a financial interest in regulated companies. Section 40-101 promotes ethics in government and prevents conflicts of interest.

Bitter Smith is the executive director and designated lobbyist for the Southwest Cable Communications Association, a trade association for cable companies in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. She is also registered as a lobbyist for two affiliates of Cox Communications. The other members of the trade association regulated by the Commission are affiliates of Comcast, Suddenlink, and Time Warner.  Bitter Smith’s salary constitutes 40-percent of SWCCA’s budget. She works as a “CEO” over all of SWCCA’s operational aspects and as its designated and only lobbyist.

The Commission regulates many public utilities in Arizona, including local telephone providers. Because cable companies or their affiliates offer telephone service, often as part of a “bundle” with television and Internet, they are regulated by the Commission. Commissioners are representatives of the people, elected to office with specific constitutional and statutory duties. They must be free of conflicts both at the point of election and during tenure in office. Bitter Smith’s conflicts existed at the time of her election in 2012 and continue to exist today, therefore, she cannot remedy them and must be removed from office.

For a copy of the Petition for Special Action, CLICK HERE.

For a look at the exhibits attached to the Petition, CLICK HERE.

Shawnna Bolick Receives Endorsements from Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump and Commissioner Brenda Burns

Shawnna Bolick

Shawnna Bolick Receives Endorsements from Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump and Commissioner Brenda Burns

Phoenix, AZ- March 26, 2014- Today, Shawnna Bolick, Republican candidate for Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 28, received Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump‘s and Commissioner Brenda Burns‘ endorsements.

“Shawnna’s knowledge and expertise in critical policy areas affecting the State of Arizona are hard to come by,” stated Chairman Stump. “I know Shawnna has what it takes to be an effective legislator and a strong communicator. She is not only committed to understanding the big picture but is willing to delve into the weeds to craft sound public policy.”

“Shawnna is a strong fiscal conservative who will prioritize the needs of Arizona. Watching her raise her two children I know how important education and the future of the state are to her,” declared Commissioner Burns. “Shawnna is a quick study and eager to roll up her sleeves to find the right mix of pro-growth ideas benefiting the state. Arizona should be so lucky to have her willing to serve us in such a capacity.”

“I am honored to have Chairman Stump’s and Commissioner Burns’ endorsements. Bob and I are both students of public policy and understand that sound policy often means fine tuning the details. Brenda has always been a role model and someone I would like to emulate in leadership in the Legislature. I have a great deal of admiration for both Bob and Brenda,” said Bolick.

Shawnna Bolick has lived in Legislative District 28 for 13 years. Shawnna and her husband, Clint, have two children, Ryne (11 .) and Kali (9), plus their five year old rescued greyhound, Beary Goldwater, living in the shadows of Squaw Peak.

###

Shawnna L.M. Bolick can be reached via email at info@bolickforarizona.com, or via cell at 602-842-1912. For more information about her campaign please visit www.BolickforArizona.com.