Commission votes unanimously to refer issue on Commissioner Andy Tobin’s (R) Proposition 127 press release to Attorney General

  • On October 9th, Commissioner Andy Tobin issued a press release stating his opposition to Proposition 127, which would require the state’s regulated utilities to deliver 50% renewable energy by 2030. The press release was removed from the Commission’s website shortly thereafter at the direction of Commissioner Tobin’s office.
  • The next day, Commissioner Bob Burns (R) filed a letter suggesting that Commissioner Tobin may have violated state law and the Commission’s Ethics Rules by using government resources to issue the press release. The letter also requested that the Commission discuss the issue at an upcoming Staff Meeting.
  • The Commission held an Open Meeting to discuss the issues raised by Commissioner Burns in his letter. Video of the meeting begins at 01:30 here. 
  • During the meeting, Commissioner Burns spoke first. He said it was important for the Commission to act expeditiously to demonstrate its “own due diligence” due to the “current low-level of public trust” in the Commission.
  • Commissioner Tobin stated that he had already sent this issue onto the Attorney General’s office for its review. He also explained the reasons why he respectfully disagreed with Commissioner Burn’s position, the timeline of events, his discussions with Commission’s Ethics Officer Andy Kvesic, how he has received many questions from the local and national press and the public about his proposed Energy Modernization Plan (which was released before the ballot proposal) and whether Proposition 127 would support or hinder that Plan, and the concerns he has with the political motivations behind the Burns’ letter.
  • After discussion, the Commission voted unanimously to approve a motion to refer the issue to the Attorney General for the Attorney General to determine if Commissioner Tobin violated A.R.S. 16-192, and if the Attorney General determines a violation was committed, for the Attorney General to determine what sanctions are appropriate.

Energy and Policy Institute releases piece showing that Commissioner Justin Olson (R) used talking points from Arizona Public Service (APS) for investor call. Commissioner Olson responds that he only uses APS information that he agrees with, that he can defend all of the positions he took, and that he meets with a variety of sources to inform his position on energy issues.

  • The Energy and Policy Institute reported that Commissioner Justin Olson took talking points on renewable energy and environmental programs provided by APS and used them, sometimes verbatim, in a phone call with Credit Suisse.
  • In response, Commissioner Olson stated that he only repeated information from APS that he personally agrees with, that he does not agree with the utility on all points, that he can defend all of the positions he took on the call, and that he reaches out to a variety of sources for information on energy policy including solar companies and energy-efficiency experts.

AriSEIA thanks Ellen Zuckerman from SWEEP for sharing her report!