Group urges court to overturn Arizona's energy tariff

Chris Rizo Jun. 29, 2008, 11:54pm

Clint Bolick

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)- The Arizona Supreme Court is being urged to overturn a rule that requires Arizona Public Service Co. to get a share of electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind.

The Goldwater Institute filed a petition last week, urging the justices to see the Arizona Corporation Commission overstepped its constitutional authority when it allowed Arizona Public Service to charge a renewable energy fee.

The Phoenix-based free-market group said the rule allowing special tariff will cost ratepayers millions of dollars.

"The rules are an unconstitutional power grab by an agency that is rapidly becoming Arizona's fourth branch of government," said Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

"Public policy regarding renewable energy should be set by the Legislature, not by an agency whose constitutional authority is limited to setting rates," he said.

The Corporation Commission approved a rule in 2006 that requires public utilities to get at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Earlier this year the panel approved an increased tariff on Arizona Public Service ratepayers to help the utility provide incentives for green power.

APS says its residential customers can be charged a maximum of $1.32 a month with the tariff. Small business customers are capped at $48.84, and industrial customers pay no more than $146.53 a month.

"At a time when Arizonans are struggling to make ends meet, it's important to prevent government from overstepping its bounds in ways that add costs to every family's budget," Bolick said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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