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Entering Workshop, Arizona Staff Says Residential Electric Choice Not In "Public Interest"

Staff Says ACC Should Proceed "Cautiously," Sees "Numerous" Workshops Ahead

Dunn: Stranded Assets, RTO "Huge Questions" For Arizona

Burns Again Suggests Aggregation Model

July 31, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Going into a workshop on retail electric choice held yesterday and continuing today, Utilities Division Staff ("Staff") of the Arizona Corporation Commission said that, at this point, Staff does not believe that it would be in the public interest to include residential customers in electric choice.

Staff's view is based on its research to date, but Staff is seeking direction from the Commission, based on the workshop and hearing from Commissioners and stakeholders. Staff said that Staff may have a further answer on a timeframe on when residential customers could be included in choice at the conclusion of the workshop.

Chairman Bob Burns initially asked his colleagues, during a Staff presentation which opened the workshop, where they stood on residential choice

Commissioner Boyd Dunn said that he has an open mind on residential choice, but wanted to first hear from stakeholders during the workshop.

Burns said that the question would be revisited after stakeholder presentations and comments, and did not ask the question of the other Commissioners after Dunn's comments.

The workshop is currently ongoing

As first reported by, Staff's report on possible rules for electric choice does contemplate that "residents" could be included in municipal aggregations (but aggregations would be required to be at least 5 MW in size)

Staff also said that the Commission should proceed cautiously, with "numerous" workshops, to avoid unintended consequences

Burns said that he expected that there would be additional workshops to address issues before moving onto the decision-making part of the ACC's review.

During the workshop discussion, Dunn highlighted stranded assets (and costs), and the need for an RTO, as "huge questions" facing the Commission

Dunn said that it appears that the ACC has reached a fork in the road and needs to address these questions, and determine whether to maintain the current policy for limited avenues for choice, which may not implicate stranded assets or require an RTO (the wholesale buy-through supply programs), or move to full retail choice

Burns during the meeting reiterated his vision of a potential aggregation program. While using the term "community choice aggregation," Burns envisioned an aggregator having the ability to "sign up" (suggesting opt-in) owners of distributed rooftop solar, and being able to aggregate and leverage such load and generation.

Burns also suggested that HOAs could be allowed to serve as CCAs.

Staff opposed granting HOAs status as CCAs, noting various legal controversies involving HOAs and property owners, and worrying that an HOA would be able to place a lien on a CCA customer's house for non-payment of their electric bill

Commissioner Justin Olson reiterated his support for a vision for electric choice he previously outlined in a memo that had been first reported by (see our story here)

Utilities reiterated prior arguments they have made against choice, as covered by here

Retail suppliers also made arguments that they have previously made in support of choice, such as those covered here

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