APS’ rate case challenge raises a huge issue — and it will come up again (and again)

Opinion: Who pays for prematurely retired fossil fuel generation in a clean energy transition?

By Robert Robb | Arizona Republic

Arizona Public Service has asked the Arizona Corporation Commission to reconsider parts of its decision to reduce the company’s revenue from captive ratepayers by $119 million. This is widely presumed to be a precursor to filing a lawsuit challenging the result.

The reconsideration request is based on a number of recondite legal issues regarding utility rate-setting. But let’s focus on a policy issue at the heart of the challenge, since it will be recurring over the next couple of decades.

And it raises serious questions about whether the commission should be involved in setting environmental policy, as opposed to sticking to protecting captive ratepayers against exploitation by monopoly providers.

Should customers pay if APS changes its mind?

Several years ago, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a requirement that the coal-powered Four Corners Generating Station had to install specific pollution control measures to continue operating past 2018.

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