Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Burns, Tobin & Dunn Up in Corp Com Race. Next, It's the Battle Over Solar in AZ!

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 9:57 PM

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So it's an unusual trifecta coming out of the Republican primary for Arizona Corporation Commission: Incumbent Bob Burns is leading the pack. Burns, a former Senate president, has led the way in trying to uncover how much mega-utility APS is secretly spending on Corporation Commission races, given that the Corporation Commission is the body that regulates APS. 

Coming in second is Andy Tobin, the former House speaker who was appointed to the commission by Gov. Doug Ducey when another commissioner was forced off the commission for a pretty blatant conflict of interest. Tobin has led the charge to try to stop Burns from getting to the bottom of the APS' efforts to keep commissioners in its pocket.

All of this gets back to the war between the utilities and rooftop-solar companies and advocates that's got the commission tied up in knots.

Coming in third at the moment is Boyd Dunn, a former Chandler mayor who has steered clear of all that controversy so far.

Not making the cut for the three seats are too former state lawmakers, Rick Gray and Al Melvin. Many Southern Arizonans remember Cap'n Al from the good old days when he kicked around the poor and championed nuclear waste as a Southern Arizona lawmaker. Sorry you won't be able to fulfill that dream of the SaddleBrooke repository, Al! 

Two Democrats are also in the hunt for the three seats in November: Bill Mundell, who previously served on the commission as a Republican, and Tom Chabin. Look for them and their allies in the solar industry to shine a light on APS' unsavory efforts to kneecap the rooftop solar biz as well as the push for higher rates. (If you're not already familiar with the phrases "dark money," "demand charges" and "regulatory capture," get ready to learn all about it.)

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