Arizona energy companies may get competition

Regulators crafting rules to allow for independent power producers

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Someday soon in Arizona, you might get to pick your energy company rather than have no choice but to use the one that serves your neighborhood.

Arizona Corporation Commission members recently spent two days discussing energy deregulation, alternately referred to as “re-regulation” or retail competition.

The state regulators are crafting rules that would allow independent power producers to compete for customers with the big electric companies like Arizona Public Service Co.

Proponents of the concept say that having electric companies compete for customers would drive down prices and improve customer service and reliability. They contend that electric companies have little reason to improve their operations because they have no threat of losing unhappy customers, unlike other businesses.

The discussion is just getting started, but it promises to be contentious.

Last year in Nevada, that state’s dominant utility helped bankroll a $63 million campaign to oppose deregulation while supporters spent more than $30 million on their cause. Voters ultimately rejected it at the ballot box.

That amount far surpasses the record spending last year in Arizona on a failed clean-energy ballot measure.

Here are seven things that will help you understand deregulation and what’s under consideration in Arizona


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