Regulator Wants New Transparency, Disclosure Rules For Corporation Commission

By Will Stone
Published: Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 5:05am

One of Arizona’s top regulators wants new rules for transparency and disclosure at the Arizona Corporation Commission. This week, Commissioner Bob Burns began asking for evidence and testimony from stakeholders.

Burns has an ambitious and broad agenda to regain public trust in his agency, which has been embroiled in scandals over allegations of conflicts of interest and outside influence.

He contends that the commission doesn’t have robust measures that ensure full transparency not only for regulated utilities but also for commissioners. Financial contributions, especially during elections, can undermine a commissioner’s objectivity, leading to what’s known as “regulatory capture."

These concerns aren’t just hypothetical.

Accusations of dark-money spending by APS in 2014 to get two current commissioners elected led Burns to subpoena the utility for those records last year. In response, APS and its parent company sued him.

These recent filings, however, include a reminder to the utility that he expects it to still comply by the end of March.

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