Arizona Chair Seeks To Have Staff Develop Rules Package For "Full" Retail Electric Competition, For All Customers
Sets Proposed Deadline For Staff Draft Submission
August 14, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Burns has proposed that ACC Staff put together a rules package for, "full retail electric competition for all customers."
"This rules package should be docketed by January 10, 2020; in
time to be discussed (not voted) no later than the Commission's February 2020 Open Meeting," Burns proposed in a memo
Burns noted that in the recent workshop concerning retail electric choice, questions raised by Commissioners included (among others) the following:
1. For full retail electric competition, would Arizona's utilities need to be part of a retail
transmission operator ("RTO") or independent system operator ("ISO") organization?
2. If an RTO/ISO was required, how would that occur and what would it look like?
3. Could and/or should Arizona utilities just join the California ISO or the Southwest Power
4. What kind of customer protection measures should be included in the rules?
5. Should those customer protection measures be different for different customer classes?
6. How would the transition to full retail electric competition occur?
7. Should Arizona utilities be encouraged to divest their generating facilities or should they
be allowed to continue to offer services?
8. How do we assure that generation facilities will continue to be built when needed?
9. If the Commission expands its renewable energy and/or energy efficiency requirements,
will competitive electric service providers be required to meet those standards?
10. What legal issues need to be addressed?
"I am in complete agreement that all the above issues (along with probably many others
not listed) must be properly addressed before a final rules package may be adopted by the
Commission. However, I respectfully disagree with some of the comments that seem to indicate
that all questions must be addressed before any rules proposal may be put on the table by
Commission Staff ('Staff')," Burns wrote
"It is my view that a proposed rule package should be presented prior to all the questions
being addressed completely. To some this may seem like I am putting the cart before the horse.
Hopefully, the following will clarify why I disagree," Burns wrote
"With a full rules package put forth by Staff, that would include full retail electric
competition for all customers, the Commission would be in a much better position to answer not
only the questions listed above, but any question that might arise," Burns wrote
For example, Burns wrote that, with a complete
rules package in front of the Commission, Commissioners can then look at those rules and ask:
1. Is the issue of the RTO/ISO adequately addressed? If not, can the rules be modified in
such a way that the issue is properly addressed? Can those modifications be made in such
a way that the rules will comply with all legal requirements?
2. Do the rules provide adequate customer protections for all customers [emphasis by Burns]? If not, can the
rules be modified so the adequate customer protections are provided while at the same
time still provided true retail electric competition?
"The above are just two examples of how the process would proceed before the
Commission would even be in a position to propose a final rules package. And obviously, all along
the way, we would be receiving and considering the input of the public and stakeholders.
Based on the above process, we may in the end determine that the important questions
Commissioners may have cannot be properly and/or adequately addressed. If this is the case,
the Commission will decide to implement less than full retail electric competition or no
competition at all, i.e., remain with the status quo. However, without a full rules package before
us, I believe that we will just continue to ask questions that will have no meaningful answers
because we have no rules which to gage [sic] those answers against," Burns wrote
"Therefore, I request that Staff put together a rules package for full retail electric
competition for all customers. This rules package should be docketed by January 10, 2020; in
time to be discussed (not voted) no later than the Commission's February 2020 Open Meeting," Burns wrote
"If any Commissioners have any issues/concerns with my above proposal, please respond
in this docket by no later than August 30, 2019, so I can include this for discussion and
consideration at a future Staff Open Meeting. If no responses are received, Staff will proceed
with my request," Burns wrote