Andy Tobin Advances In The Race For Arizona Corporation Commission

Andy Tobin

Phoenix, AZ – Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin has advanced to the General Election in the race for the Arizona Corporation Commission. Tobin, the former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to fill a vacancy on the Commission. In early results, Tobin received strong support in Arizona’s rural counties and finished near the top in Maricopa and Pima Counties.

“I am beyond grateful to the people of Arizona who voted to nominate me as one of the Republican Party’s nominees for the Arizona Corporation Commission.Serving the voters and taxpayers of Arizona has been one of my life’s biggest and most important professional accomplishments. My purpose for serving on the Commission has always been straightforward: Protect Arizonans and grow an economy. Period. I want to ensure that all Arizonans have access to a reliable and affordable electrical grid, clean water and safe infrastructure. I want to continue the implementation of conservative reforms such as Governor Doug Ducey’s ‘Lean Government Initiative.’ I want to fight for our seniors who often are taken advantage of by unscrupulous financial planners.”

Andy Tobin

Andy Tobin

Commissioner Tobin continued: “After serving on the Commission for over 200 days, it is clear to me that there is still so much more work to be done here on behalf of Arizonans. This election is far from over. Special interest groups connected to Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are threatening to turn the Commission a deep shade of liberal blue. It seems like every week, a new burdensome, job-killing environmental regulation scuttles out of Washington.Let’s send a clear message at the polls this November: Arizona, especially our rural communities, cannot afford the federal government’s ‘wisdom,’and we must not stand for it either.  I ask for your vote for the Arizona Corporation Commission because I understand that the job of elected leaders is not to protect themselves or the government — it is to protect the taxpayers.”

Commissioner Bob Burns Wants APS To Control Your Thermostat

Commissioner Burns would like APS to have access into your home to be able to adjust your thermostat.  He’s up for re-election. Is this the representation you want?

Arizona Corporation Commission Clean Elections Debate – Monday, August 8, 2016

Commissioner Bob Stump – Super Hero Fighting For Truth, Justice & Ratepayers

Gotta love Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump!

He’s been through hell and back battling against the leftist faux watchdog group, Checks & Balances. The left-wing villains in this group have launched attack after attack against Stump only to be rejected over and over again by a Superior Court Judge.

The same group has attacked the Arizona Attorney General, a former Solicitor General and every other elected, appointed or law enforcement official who has investigated the false allegations imagined against Bob Stump.

He’s even taken hits by a so-called fellow Republican who may have been infected by the Checks & Balances virus.

But still Commissioner Stump holds his ground for truth, justice and the ratepayer way.

You may laugh at my exaggerated description of what’s been taking place over the last year with the Arizona Corporation Commission but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The fact is, a battle has been taking place for sometime over who sits on the Arizona Corporation Commission. There are only five seats on the commission which means the left has to capture three in order to seize power and push its green energy agenda.

The Checks & Balances Project has been a key player in this battle putting its weight into frivolous legal challenges and conjuring negative media attention against the Republicans on the Commission. They may have assimilated one already.

This group is part of a vast left-wing network of subsidy-thirsty corporatists disguised as green energy advocates. They’re largely funded by left-wing philanthropists and dark money donors like billionaire Tom Steyer. Their mission is to fundamentally transform US energy policy and that means getting their puppets into key power positions like the Arizona Corporation Commission. Sound familiar?

You can bet candidates like Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell are just who they want to fill two seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Both Chabin and Mundell have cloned Big Solar and green corporatists messaging in their campaign themes.

We’re not buying it and neither is Bob Stump. That’s why he’s a super hero to us.

Every time we flip a switch, turn on a light or adjust the thermostat, we’re reminded that common sense commissioners like Bob Stump are holding back the enemies of cheap and efficient energy policy from waging war on ratepayers.

Get that commissioner a cape!

SuperMan Bob Stump

 

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

Tom Chabin’s Dark Money Past

In the race for Arizona Corporation Commission, there are several candidates who aren’t who they say they are.

One candidate in particular, has made a major part of his campaign platform about running against “dark money.” You see it on his website, social media and in the media.

Tom Chabin Dark Money

Tom Chabin rails about dark money being spent by big power companies. We assume he’s referring to APS and their First Amendment participation in the election process.

What Tom Chabin doesn’t want you to know is that he was the direct beneficiary of  “dark money” during his failed state senate campaign in 2012.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s website, Chapin was the direct beneficiary of $204,531 from four independent expenditure groups.

Tom Chabin IE Money

America Votes is listed as a labor union organization based out of Washington, DC. On their website, they tout “building progressive power” and partnering with every radical leftist organization in America. During the 2012 election cycle, they spent $127,077 in Arizona to elect Democrat candidates. Chabin was one of those Democrats they attempted to elect. Fortunately, they failed.

Another organization that spent $145,774 to keep Tom Chabin in his $24,000/year legislative seat was the Arizona Accountability Project. On their campaign finance reports, they reported $475,000 funneled from an outside dark money group called Revive Arizona Now. They ended up spending $561,047 on Democrat candidates in 2012.

Chabin also was aided and abetted by two other independent expenditure committees. Citizens for Public Education spent $315 but Revitalize Arizona kicked in $44,318 in an effort to save his re-election. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Revitalize Arizona took in $744,328.47 from another group called Residents for Accountability which Tucson media reported, “that group’s finances are a bit of a Russian nesting doll.” Revitalize Arizona spent $44,318 to re-elect Tom Chabin in 2012.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Revitalize Arizona – “that group’s finances are a bit of a Russian nesting doll”[/pullquote]

Tom Chabin lost his bid for the Arizona State Senate in 2012.

Now Chabin is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission as part of a Democrat team with Bill Mundell.

Chabin and Mundell are running as “Clean Elections” candidates so they won’t be asking for private donations in their race. PAC’s and individuals will still donate and participate in the election under Arizona campaign finance limits. Independent expenditure committees will still attempt to affect the outcome of the race through express advocacy. And we expect non-profit organizations to air issue-ads to “educate” citizens about the issues.

Both Democrats have made it their mission to attack their opponents by alleging Republicans are part of a vast right-wing conspiracy with APS. (They’re not.)

Both Chabin and Mundell are pushing for Big Solar’s agenda. These solar companies, backed by big environmental leftists, want to retain and expand on their taxpayer subsidies. If elected, Chabin and Mundell will work to keep the taxpayer dollars flowing to these solar corporations.

Given the dismal history of bankruptcies and bailouts of big solar corporations like Solyndra, SunEdison and Abengoa, handing authority to Democrats like Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell would be a financial disaster to ratepayers and the energy market.

Tom Chabin

Expect Big Solar to strong-arm this race and spend big money to put their corporate cronies in place. Just don’t expect leftist-friendly media to shine any light on their dark spending or on Chabin’s dark money past.

 

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.

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.