Utility Regulators Grill Arizona Public Service Executives

Sep 5, 2019

State utility regulators lit into top executives from Arizona Public Service at the start of a hearing on power disconnection rules and political spending.

APS CEO Don Brandt
Credit mccaininstitute.org

Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Burns said during the hearing Wednesday that APS orchestrated a wide-ranging plan to take control of the commission and sew discord. He also says Governor Doug Ducey inappropriately interfered in the commission's business.

Earlier this year, APS detailed millions of dollars of political spending to help elect it's favored regulators and defeat a ballot measure that would have required the utility to deploy more renewable energy. The company is also under fire after a woman died when her power was shut off in triple-digit heat.

Commissioner Sandra Kennedy says APS chief Don Brandt has acted like a kingpin running the company to enrich himself. 

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Arizona Public Service says a federal criminal investigation into the utility's political spending is still active. Attorney Bill Maledon says company officials expect it will wrap up soon. He did not elaborate. Maledon says APS is prohibited from discussing details of the probe because of grand jury secrecy rules and agreements with investigators. Maledon disclosed the continuing investigation during a hearing at the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The state's utility regulators are grilling APS executives over political spending and power disconnection policies. The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix are investigating spending in the 2014 elections for secretary of state and corporation commission. APS parent company Pinnacle West Capital Corp. has disclosed that it's received subpoenas in the investigation.