Opinion: Arizona’s energy monopolies are expected to fight hard against competition from Green Mountain Energy. But it’s time to offer this competition.
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The Republic | azcentral.com
From its inception, Arizona has a history of innovation and empowering its citizens. It’s time to apply this freedom and independence to our energy.
Green Mountain Energy Co. recently filed an application with the Arizona Corporation Commission to serve Arizona residents. We are both former corporation commissioners and chairs of the commission, and while one of us is a Democrat and the other a Republican, this is an issue on which we firmly agree.
Whether you support the proliferation of renewable energy or value the benefits of empowering consumer choice and competition (or both), Green Mountain’s application is appealing.
By allowing consumers to choose to buy 100% renewable energy from Green Mountain, Arizona can drive the adoption of additional clean energy in a manner that avoids tricky debates about the uncounted benefits or hidden costs of mandates or subsidies that divide so many on energy policy issues.
As a result of the straightforward benefits of this approach, we urge the commission to act quickly and permit this well-regulated energy competition.
Key words here: Well-regulated energy competition
The key words here are well-regulated – and we’re confident the corporation commission is up to the task.
The commission has the authority and responsibility to ensure consumers are protected, energy is reliable and folks are paying a fair, predictable price for their electricity. This authority would continue in a competitive environment.
Green Mountain Energy’s application details how it seeks to become Arizona’s first and only supplier to source and sell only 100% renewable energy to willing Arizona consumers – and they have a successful track record in states they already serve.
We know the monopoly utilities are going to oppose this application. We’ve been on the receiving end of their tirades and shenanigans numerous times as they have fought to keep hold of their captive customers and their valuable monopolies.
The monopolies will likely try to scare commissioners and consumers with claims about cost and reliability. They’ll point to states like Texas without mentioning Arizona’s grid is nothing like that in the Lonestar State, and that Arizona law will continue to place caps on the energy prices residential customers can be charged.
Nor will they mention their own nonstop rate increases, consumer deceptions or record profits.
Consumers deserve the chance to make the choice
We expect the debate to be fierce and the monopolies’ opposition to this application to be ferocious.
We expect Green Mountain Energy to prevail not only because Arizona law, as interpreted by a recent Arizona Supreme Court decision, is crystal clear on this point, but because this application represents more than just the freedom to choose Company A or Company B.
It represents the freedom to choose 100% clean energy, today. It underscores the corporation commission’s commitment to renewable energy and gives consumers an opportunity to accelerate the commission’s timeline to source 100% of Arizona’s energy from non-carbon sources by 2070.
It represents a commitment to the environment.
And it represents Arizona’s history of innovation, empowerment and smart regulation.
It’s possible. And it’s time.
Democrat Bill Mundell served on the Arizona Corporation Commission from 1999-2008. Bob Burns served on the commission from 2013-2021. Both have served as chair.