Arizona Sets Two-Phase Process to Examine Whether to Re-open Retail Electric Choice, Direct Energy Applies for License May 10, 2013 Email This Story Copyright 2010-13 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Karen Abbott • email@example.com
The Arizona Corporation Commission will schedule two public meetings, and opened a comment process, to examine whether retail electric choice should be introduced into the state.
Retail electric choice has been suspended in Arizona for approximately a decade.
A written issuance from the ACC concerning its decision to move forward with an examination of electric competition was not immediately available.
Based on discussion at the ACC meeting yesterday, it appears an extended timeline was adopted, with the first of the two meetings planned for September, with initial comments received in June or July.
The initial step and meeting in ACC's process has been described as "discovery," to be followed by stakeholders' proposed rules and mechanisms for retail access, which will be addressed at the second meeting.
During an ACC meeting yesterday, Commissioner Gary Pierce favored this process, stating he was not prepared yesterday to make a yes/no decision of whether to start a process of re-opening retail access.
Commissioner Bob Burns recommended that the ACC move forward with implementing choice with one less public meeting, suggesting that the Commission should instead vote at yesterday's meeting to move forward with the process of re-opening retail choice, stating any issues could be worked out during the implementation process, rather than having a preamble process.
Commissioner Brenda Burns, who was "excited" about opening the review, said that the adopted two-meeting process was superior for receiving public comment, and said that the first meeting will allow Commissioners to flag issues for stakeholders and issues on which they need to be further convinced, which can then be addressed in formal proposals to be considered at the second meeting.
Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith said that there are a lot of moving pieces with regard to electric competition, and some very basic questions which must be answered, including the impact on ratepayers.
Commissioner Bob Burns said that residential customers must be considered "first and foremost," and also said that small businesses must be heard as well.
ACC Staff urged the deliberate two-stop process because, once retail competition is introduced, "it's going to be almost impossible to come back."
Staff also recommended that Commissioners, not Staff, lead the two public meetings and process. The second phase of the process, where stakeholders file proposed rules, is meant to ease Staff's burden in authoring rules, and allow Commissioners to express preference for certain proposals ahead of Staff formally proposing anything.
Earlier this month, Direct Energy Services, LLC applied for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to act as a retail electric supplier in Arizona.
In the application, Direct Energy said that it is serving two of Arizona’s largest retail customers in the APS territory through the AG-1 wholesale buy-through Pilot Program