Elections take a considerable amount of money to operate, there is no doubting this fact, sadly. The issues we face are related to how elections are funded, and this brings us to Electricity & Politics: The Odd Couple.
Arizona Public Service (APS) should change the name to Arizona Political Service. Over the last several years, APS (the corporation that owns APS is Pinnacle West Corporation) spent close to $50 million influencing Arizona elections (that I can track at the time of this writing). Out of the over 700 Political Action Committees (PACs) who spent money to influence elections in Arizona, close to 17% of the almost $280 million came from APS.
Another startling fact reported by the Arizona Central: APS customers overpaid $28.4 million, and the elected commissioners kept it silent until just recently. To top it all off they want a $184 million rate increase. It appears the return on investment (ROI) into political campaigns are paying off nicely (especially in LD24 where a current elected official has taken $4,000 from APS between 2014–2019). Salt River Project (SRP), the other major utility company in Arizona is 21% less expensive than APS.
Arizona population grew by 3% between 2010–2017. In essence, almost 100,000 new customers came to Arizona, yet APS still wants to hike up rates. In Legislative District 24, the population growth percentage is the same.
At a time when over 50,000 people in Legislative District 24 are living in poverty, it is striking to see elected officials not doing more to stop this money-hungry corporation and protect the residents of our district from price gouging. It seems pretty clear where some elected officials stand on allowing corporate powers to run amok, and it is not on the side of voters where they should be.
As your next State Senator, I will put forth legislative action to stop this from happening any more. Elected officials are here to protect the people they serve, not answer to special interests and corporate PACs. There is no reason rate increases should continue at the rate they are.
Less than 10% of energy production comes from solar, this is even though Arizona has the 2nd highest sun index in the country. It is clear from the behavior of APS that producing clean energy is not high on their agenda. Arizona must take the lead on solar energy production and create a 3rd major public utility exclusively dedicated to this. Building a new utility through public-private partnerships will create jobs, allow innovative approaches to energy and deflate the power-hungry corporations’ influence on so many customers in our State.
“The best way to compare solar energy and fossil fuels without subsidies is to examine global energy prices. Consider this: global coal prices have historically averaged $0.06 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Until the past decade, no alternative energy resource came close to rivaling that price. Fossil fuel steam averages around $0.05 cents/kWh and small scale natural gas can go as low as $0.03 cents/kWh. It’s no wonder that the world was shocked in 2016 when a major commercial solar installation bid an extremely low price for PV at $0.029 per kWh — effectively leveling the playing field between solar and fossil fuels’ cheapest offerings” (Source)
This is a logical solution to the ongoing cost burden put on consumers for electricity in our State. Solar electricity is less expensive, which means less cost for consumers.
Think about this practical policy proposal next month when your bill comes in the mail. Solar is less expensive, yet least used in our State. It is time to change that and save people money.
Going up against Goliath (APS) is a bold move for any candidate. Voters need to know the facts, be well informed and to never let special interests silence the voices of those who call them out. I know the facts & policy proposal presented here are likely to ruffle some feathers, but I stand by my convictions as a human being first, candidate second, to always seek out and share the truth. I may stand alone against APS, but at least I stand knowing my voters can make well-informed decisions that impact household expenses, and our collective future.