Institute says trial court failed to examine each rule as required by numerous court precedents
Phoenix--The Goldwater Institute's Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation announced today it will appeal, on behalf Arizona Public Service consumers, a ruling made last week by the Maricopa Superior Court upholding the Arizona Corporation Commission's Renewable Energy Standards and Tariff rules.
The rules require most of the state's utility companies to generate specified portions of their energy from certain renewable sources, regardless of cost or technology. The rules provide that the costs will be passed along to ratepayers in the form of surcharges, which began last year and are steadily growing.
"These rules may be the most sweeping and costly regulations ever imposed upon Arizona businesses, and consumers will pick up the entire tab," declared Clint Bolick, the Institute's litigation director.
The Institute says that the trial court failed to examine each rule as required by numerous court precedents, and did not consider well-established legal doctrine that prevents the Commission from interfering with business management decisions.
"The Constitution gives the Commission narrow and defined powers, which the court transformed into a blank check to do whatever it wants, regardless of the impact on the very consumers the Commission is supposed to protect," Bolick said.
Arizona Republic columnist Bob Robb characterized the court decision as "one of the most astonishing acts of legal obfuscation I've ever seen."
The Institute was especially critical of comments made last week by Commission chair Kris Mayes, who claimed that the rules will "keep electricity rates as low as possible." The Commission's own staff estimated the rules will cost consumers at least $2.4 billion more than the cost of conventional energy, and already ratepayers are paying millions of dollars in surcharges every month.
The appeal is expected to be filed in the Arizona Court of Appeals later this month.