By Ryan Randazzo | The Arizona Republic
With five Republicans in charge of Arizona utility regulations, all who appear to welcome free-market competition, merchant power suppliers see the state as ripe for another shot at utility deregulation.
Arizona began planning utility deregulation in the 1990s, about the same time other states were attempting to open up their markets. The effort was killed by a judge’s decision in 2004, but could see new life.
“We will prudently and cautiously examine how other states have fared under retail competition and ponder whether the time is right for Arizona to follow a similar path,” said Bob Stump, chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The five members of the Corporation Commission set utility policies.
Stump spoke last week at a conference hosted by the Competitive Power Alliance, where several companies touted the virtues of utility deregulation in states such as Texas and Pennsylvania.
Arizona’s deregulation efforts lasted several years, with utilities bracing for competition and forming separate companies to market electricity. But shortly after the first large utility customers began to select their electricity providers, the effort was shut down. Arizona never got to the point where residential customers were able to select power providers.
Now deregulation is making a comeback in Arizona.
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