Utility regulators cite harm to community members and rushed, opaque public process

Arizona Corporation Commission rejects Salt River Project’s massive gas plant expansion

April 13, 2022

Ryan Bentz, Social Justice Engineering Initiative (SJEI) | ryan.bentz@sjei.org
Ellen Zuckerman, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) | ezuckerman@swenergy.org


[PHOENIX, AZ] – Yesterday, in a bi-partisan decision, Arizona utility regulators rejected Salt River Project’s (SRP) proposal to build 16 new gas turbines at the Coolidge power plant.

In the 4-to-1 vote denying the ~$1 billion project, Arizona Corporation Commissioners cited the utility’s rushed and opaque public process, its failure to conduct a competitive bid, and the impacts to the historically Black community of Randolph, where the 820-MW power plant expansion had been proposed.

“As a neighbor and friend to the Randolph community, I am so grateful and thankful for the leadership of Chairwoman Márquez Peterson and Commissioners Kennedy, O’Connor, and Tovar,” said Ryan Bentz, Executive Director of the Social Justice Engineering Initiative. “After years of neglect, someone finally listened to us and took our concerns seriously. I hope marginalized communities everywhere find hope in yesterday’s decision and never stop fighting for their friends, families, and neighbors.”

“The Arizona Corporation Commission deserves a standing ovation,” said Ellen Zuckerman, Co-Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s (SWEEP) Utility Program. “At a time when far too many Arizonans are making painful economic decisions and falling behind on their bills, we simply cannot rubber-stamp $1 billion for improperly rushed and poorly vetted projects.”

Businessesconsumer groups, and environmental interests were all united in their opposition to this bad proposal,” said Caryn Potter, Utility Program Manager for SWEEP. “The Arizona Corporation Commission’s thoughtful review protected all of our pocketbooks and is something we should all celebrate.”


The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. swenergy.org

The Social Justice Engineering Initiative (SJEI) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to research, develop, and implement engineering practices, designs, products, and methods that promote social and environmental justice and overall sustainability. sjei.org