FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2021
Ellen Zuckerman, Utility Program Co-Director, SWEEP
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Diane E. Brown, Executive Director, Arizona PIRG Education Fund
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[PHOENIX, AZ] – Earlier this month, when the Arizona Corporation Commission voted to kill its comprehensive Energy Rules, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), Arizona PIRG Education Fund, and Wildfire: Igniting Community Action to End Poverty in Arizona denounced the decision. Today, those very same organizations applauded the Commission for reviving its Energy Rules and voting to extend and expand Arizona’s successful Energy Efficiency Standard.
At the request of Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, Commissioners met today to reconsider their prior decision. In a bipartisan effort, Commissioners Kennedy, Anna Tovar, and Jim O’Connor voted to advance a comprehensive energy package that includes an electric energy efficiency standard, a distributed energy storage standard, improvements to the integrated resource planning process, and a carbon-free electricity standard. As a result of this action, the Commission will initiate a supplemental rule-making process that is expected to culminate in a final vote this fall.
Consumer and efficiency advocates reacted to the Commission’s action that advances the Energy Efficiency Standard:
“Commissioner Kennedy should be commended for calling for a new vote. She has a long-standing record of supporting limited-income and other ratepayers, and today, she built on that legacy,” stated Cynthia Zwick, Executive Director of Wildfire: Igniting Community Action to End Poverty in Arizona. “Her leadership on the Commission a decade ago helped secure Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard, and her leadership today continues the state down the path of a more energy-efficient future, which cuts utility costs and saves money for all Arizonans.”
Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, added, “Commissioners Kennedy, Tovar, and O’Connor deserve recognition for continuing the Commission’s bi-partisan tradition of supporting energy efficiency and clean energy standards. The Commission’s vote to extend and expand Arizona’s very successful Energy Efficiency Standard provides certainty to businesses and benefits to ratepayers.”
“Commissioners Kennedy, Tovar, and O’Connor deserve a standing ovation. The policy they advanced today will cut utility costs, eliminate wasteful energy use, and further investment and growth,” said Ellen Zuckerman, Co-Director of the Utility Program for SWEEP. “Energy efficiency is the cheapest way for Arizona to meet its energy needs. By eliminating energy waste, we reduce the need to generate power from more expensive options while supporting more local jobs, cleaner air and water, healthier families, and more affordable electricity.”
According to Arizona Public Service Company and Tucson Electric Power, energy efficiency programs implemented over the last decade have saved ratepayers more than $1.4 billion, avoided the need to construct 14 gas combustion turbines, saved more than 15 billion gallons of water, and enabled more than 40,000 jobs statewide.
Recent research by Strategen Consulting in coordination with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, documents that the adoption of the Commission’s Energy Rules, including the expansion of energy efficiency, could deliver more than $2 billion in savings for all Arizonans.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan organization that works to protect consumers and the public interest. It investigates problems, crafts solutions, educates the public, and offers citizens meaningful opportunities for civic participation. For more information, visit arizonapirgeducationfund.org.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information, visit swenergy.org.
Wildfire: Igniting Community Action to End Poverty in Arizona is a growing movement to end poverty. They advocate for fair practices, collaborate on policy issues, and support community action initiatives throughout the state. For more information, visit wildfireaz.org.