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Arizona Regulators Approve $2B Electricity Transmission Project
Arizona Regulators Approve $2B Electricity Transmission Project


By Associated Press/ February 4, 2016 — Arizona utility regulators have authorized construction of a planned $2 billion transmission line between Arizona and New Mexico.

The state Corporation Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to approve the 515-mile-long SunZia Southwest Transmission Project. The certificate issued by a state committee and affirmed by the Corporation Commission is one of the last major permits the project needs.

"Once the few remaining approvals are secured, SunZia will proceed with financing, design and engineering activities," SunZia spokesman Ian Calkins said in a statement applauding the commission's decision.

The SunZia project aims to tap into wind resources in New Mexico as well as solar and geothermal potential in New Mexico and Arizona. The line will export electricity to markets in the West.

Ducey's Pick for Arizona Corporation Commission has his own Conflict of Interest
Ducey's Pick for Arizona Corporation Commission has his own Conflict of Interest

Ryan Randazzo and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Republic | 11:29 a.m. MST February 2, 2016

TobinThe man Gov. Doug Ducey appointed to replace a utility regulator whose removal was sought because of a potential conflict of interest will not vote on major electric-utility cases because he faces his own personal conflict.

Ducey in December appointed former lawmaker Andy Tobin to the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, railroad crossings and other matters in Arizona.

The vacancy Tobin is filling on the commission was created when Chairwoman Susan Bitter Smith resigned as the Arizona Attorney General's Office was seeking her removal over what officials believed was a conflict of interest.

Tobin said Tuesday, just hours before a swearing-in ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., that he will avoid voting on matters that involve rooftop-solar-panel-installation company SolarCity Corp., because his son-in-law works for the company in rural Arizona.

"I just won't be voting when the (commission) lawyer says, 'You have a conflict,'" Tobin said. "There could be a lot of recusals."

TEP Will Offer Expanded Energy Efficiency Options to Customers
TEP Will Offer Expanded Energy Efficiency Options to Customers

February 3, 2016 Tucson, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Tucson Electric Power (TEP) will offer an expanded portfolio of energy efficiency (EE) programs in 2016, including a pilot program to pay for energy efficient measures at local schools.

TEP’s 2016 Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan, approved today by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), includes new programs that can help customers save money, reduce their impact on the environment and limit the long-term need for new energy resources.

The new offerings, which will become available in the coming months, include a program to help schools improve their energy efficiency. While schools have participated in other TEP EE programs, this new program will be developed specifically for their needs. Preference will be given to schools that have not recently installed energy efficiency measures.

Utility Regulator Robert Burns Launches Investigation of APS Political Spending
Utility Regulator Robert Burns Launches Investigation of APS Political Spending

randazzo-ryanRyan Randazzo, The Republic | 7:34 p.m. MST January 28, 2016

BURNSUtility regulator Robert Burns on Thursday expressly directed Arizona Public Service Co. to provide accounts, books, papers and other documents regarding campaign contributions after previously being rebuffed by the utility.

"In the current climate, there is a public perception that APS has used funds earmarked for its costs of service to support various political campaigns," Burns wrote to the utility. "Recently, I have become concerned about the lack of transparency for all of APS' below-the-line expenditures."

Burns said he intends to use his authority under state law to examine all of APS' political contributions, lobbying and charitable contributions.

He said he also wants to investigate the degree to which APS operations are intertwined with its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

Judge: None of Bob Stump's Texts are Public
Judge: None of Bob Stump's Texts are Public

 randazzo-ryanRyan Randazzo, The Republic | 9:06 p.m. MST January 20, 2016

Bob-Stump-CNA judge has decided that utility regulator Bob Stump's text messages are not public records, handing a defeat to a clean-energy group that suggested his messages would reveal improper campaigning.

The Washington, D.C.-area Checks and Balances Project has been trying since March to access the messages that Stump sent and received ahead of the 2014 election. The group, which is funded in part by California-based SolarCity Corp., has suggested that Stump helped independent political groups that spent $3.2 million to help elect two of Stump's Republican friends to the commission that year — Tom Forese and Doug Little.

The five elected commissioners regulate utilities.

Checks and Balances filed a public records request for the messages last year, and Stump's phone was seized by the Attorney General's Office in July amid a separate investigation of another regulator.

Checks and Balances filed a special action in Maricopa County Superior Court in October to access the messages after the commission released a log of contacts and when messages were sent, which is all Verizon Wireless said was available.

Checks and Balances officials said the log suggests that Stump communicated with the Forese, Little and the political groups supporting them, which are not allowed to coordinate their efforts.

Stump said there was no coordination.


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