Arizona regulators consider potential rules for electric retail competition
PHOENIX, AZ — Is Arizona ready to allow a choice of electricity providers for consumers?
On Tuesday, industry experts from around the country presented cases for and against restructuring to the Arizona Corporation Commission.
In the first of a two-day workshop to consider potential rules for a competitive market, commissioners heard about the good and the bad in existing models.
Elin Katz, a former consumer advocate for the state of Connecticut made a presentation in opposition to competition.
Katz says unscrupulous companies inundate consumers with phone calls and spoof phone numbers in attempts to get them to switch.
And even with years of consumer education, she says some consumers still fall victim. “We failed. I failed. We were not able to protect consumers in this market,” Katz said.
Part the problem, she says, is that it is hard for consumers to know if they are getting the best plan for their situation.
“Consumers don’t understand this market. It’s an incredibly complicated market” she said.
Katz testified on behalf of Tucson Electric Power, an investor-owned utility that would be adversely affected by competition.
Commissioner Justin Olson has spearheaded the effort to allow competition with the support of Commissioner Bob Burns.
“Restructuring markets and allowing competition creates a rising tide that lifts all boats,” Olson said.
In December 2019, he spoke with ABC15 about why he believes competition will benefit Arizonans.
Now he is working to convince at least one of the other three commissioners who are undecided on the issue that the same pitfalls seen in other states would not happen in Arizona.