Judge insists he can decide extent of corporation commissioner’s powers

Tom Forese, chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission /Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge said he has the legal right to decide whether state regulator Bob Burns has the unilateral power to subpoena utility executives, even in the face of opposition of the other four members of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

In an extensive ruling Monday, Judge Daniel Kiley rejected arguments by Arizona Public Service that he is legally powerless to intercede in what the company contends is a dispute among commissioners.

APS attorney Mary O’Grady said that, at the very least, Burns should have to wait until the commission rules on its pending rate increase request.

But Kiley said this isn’t a simple internal dispute among commissioners. Instead, he pointed out, Burns wants a clear ruling on the scope of his constitutional and statutory authority as an elected member of the panel to compel the production of evidence and examine witnesses.

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