The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) hopes to deliver a revolution in the provision of energy: energy mandates from renewable resources.
Under new rules, energy providers will be forced to obtain 15 percent of their energy from renewable energy resources like solar power. Electricity providers should be good stewards of energy resources. But good decisions, like figuring out what works for renewable energy, should bubble up from consumers and producers, not government. Government mandates are costly experiments in what might work experiments ultimately subsidized by power company customers.
But there's a bigger problem with the ACC's mandate. The Arizona Constitution sets limits on its authority. By rule of law, the ACC is a ratemaking body, not a policy setting one. Were it otherwise, the Commission's hand could reach into every nook and cranny of private enterprise, like deciding how much energy should be made or used. That's a revolution we can all do without.
Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.
-Arizona Constitution, Article 15, section 3
-Arizona Corporation Commission
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