It’s time to take back our power, Arizona

By: Chispa Arizona

This is our moment to take back power. I mean that literally.

Arizonans don’t get to choose our electric company, but did you know we do get to choose who makes the rules that regulate them?

We can elect leaders that will represent us to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) — the five-person group that oversees our utilities. The ACC controls whether corporations like APS can raise rates during a global pandemic, whether they invest in clean energy, and whether they prioritize everyday ratepayers and customers like us. A strong ACC creates accountability — for example, they have the power to ensure that the $28.4 million APS improperly overcharged Arizonans in 2018 is returned to the ratepayers.

Three of the five seats on the ACC are up for election this year, and the stakes could not be higher. If we turn out in force, we can choose a “Solar Team” — one that will fight for clean air and clean politics for our state. That’s why Chispa AZ PAC — on behalf of our thousands of members — is endorsing Bill Mundell, Anna Tovar, and Shea Stanfield for the ACC.

We are calling their opponents the “Sold Out Team” — that’s because these candidates have consistently supported business as usual and oppose clear plans to accelerate our transition to clean, renewable energy. One candidate — Jim O’Connor — denied climate change just last month during the ACC debate. Another — Eric Sloan — led APS’s 2016 effort to elect their chosen Republican candidates and he was fired from the State for harassing workers and racist behavior. And the third — Lea Márquez Peterson — aligns herself directly with the Trump Administration. She joined the Latinos for Trump Townhall held last month despite the fact that he continues to reject climate science and promote a racist agenda.

Contrast this with the candidates Chispa AZ PAC is endorsing — the ones who will stand up to APS, TEP, the Chamber of Commerce, and other powerful corporate interests on behalf of the people of Arizona. The environment is not a special interest, and we cannot let corporations like APS increase our rates just to spend those profits electing and lobbying politicians. That’s why it’s on all of us as Arizonans to defend clean air, clean water, and clean politics.

This November is our chance to break the cycle once and for all. The work has never been more important than it is right now, with a global pandemic attacking our lungs and our livelihoods.

While Arizonans are struggling in the midst of record unemployment and record heat, APS is making more money than ever. In their latest quarterly report, APS touted making $48 million more in profits than this same quarter last year because of hotter-than-normal temperatures. At the same time, they are gearing up for yet another rate increase — a $184 MILLION rate increase — because they know they can get it through the “Sold Out” majority on the current ACC.

Our families are reaching out to us about monthly bills over $400 — and the potential for thousands of dollars of debt to come due in December when the shut off moratorium ends.

Enough is enough. Arizona is ready for change. We don’t have to keep playing the rigged APS game if we don’t keep their team members filling the majority of the positions on the ACC.

It’s time for the Solar Team to take the helm. The Solar Team stands for our families: that’s why we strongly endorse Tovar, Mundell, and Stanfield for the ACC. Let’s vote and take back our power, Arizona.

Creosote Partners is an Arizona firm focused on legislative advocacy, coalition building, and strategic communications.