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Arizona Corporation Commission Corrupt or Incompetent?

ACC Commissioner Brenda Burns

ACC Commissioner Brenda Burns

Sedona AZ (February 28, 2013) – “We are witnessing a classic example of complete regulatory failure. The only real question left is: Was this failure planned from the start and, if so, who got paid to ensure the failure?” writes a concerned Arizonan in a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor and the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne:


February 26, 2013
Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) 
Docket Control Center 
1200 West Washington Street 
ACC Chairman Bob Stumpf

ACC Chairman Bob Stumpf

Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Re: Docket # E-00000C-11-0328


Your actions totally betray you. I catch the largest utility in the state flat out lying and you do nothing. Not one of you even post the information to the docket. Unbelievable!

The ACC has failed at regulating and is reminiscent of an incompetent third world bureaucracy. This is no idle accusation. Anything I say I can prove.

ACC Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith

ACC Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith

Cases in point: 

  • A few months ago I noticed inconsistencies in docketing. Some items sent in to the ACC were being docketed; some not.

Trying to get a straight answer out of your staff as to why and how to post to the docket was impossible. Answers differed depending on with whom I spoke. Some said I needed to follow instructions at the ACC website which called for 14 hard copies; some did not.

After getting shunted around various ACC departments I ended up at the ACC’s Legal Division where I was told by Janice Alword, “Chief Legal Counsel”, that I could email mailmaster@azcc.gov and whatever I sent there would get posted to the docket.

ACC Commissioner Bob Burns

ACC Commissioner Bob Burns

I then sent an email to the mailmaster address to confirm what I had been told. As is usual with the ACC, I had to send another email to get a response because my first one was ignored. That response came from Connie Walczak in “Consumer Services.” She confirmed that sending to mailmaster was an option for getting something posted to the docket. (See her enclosed email and note lines 3 to 5.) 

Meanwhile, at around the same time I was making my inquiries, someone else I know was told by the ACC that anything sent to a commissioner would be posted to the docket. So it looked like we were covered – email in something to the commissioners and Cc mailmaster. Done and docketed.

However, with the passage of time, this has proved to be not true. Are any of you commissioners concerned that neither your high-sounding “Legal Division” nor your “Consumer Serviceshave any idea what they are talking about and are disseminating misinformation? Like I said, the whole situation is very “third world.”

ACC Commissioner Gary Pierce

ACC Commissioner Gary Pierce

Adding to the ACC’s third world image is the docketing practice currently used! Commissioners arbitrarily deciding what to post and what not to post hardly represents impartiality, fairness or “equality under law.”

I, and others, had wondered why some items we sent were posted and some not. Now we know. It is whatever Your Excellencies wish. I can’t believe it is up to me to point out how totally wrong that is.

But rule by whim is not only wrong, it is also very instructive to see what the whims reflect.

I have already noted you chose to not post my letter that exposed APS as liars. But you also chose to not post the Connecticut Attorney General’s “smart” meter cost/benefit analysis that I sent you.

The cost/benefit analysis, which was based on thousands of real people using thousands of real “smart” meters, showed “smart” meters to be a total financial failure incurring millions of dollars in “stranded costs” and placing an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on ratepayers. In the (Connecticut) Attorney General’s own words, “…the costs associated with the full deployment of AMI [“smart”] meters are huge and cannot be justified by energy savings achieved.”

Arizona Corporation Commission logoIf you were hoping these issues would go away, by not posting those related items to the docket, you are mistaken. I am enclosing 14 copies of each with this letter and I am demanding they be posted to the docket along with this letter. Thus, in future lawsuits over the “smart” meter issue you may all be sued individually for having knowledge on which you refused to act.

I have also filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General for you not following A.A.C. Section R14-3-107, “Filing and service of formal documents.“

What a pity that there is likely no fine or jail time for violating it. In my opinion, you’ve certainly earned both.

Getting back to my conversation of a few months ago with your Legal Division, I was told then that you were “working on” electronic docket posting. Working on? That sounds like a huge public works project when, in reality, if it was something you were sincerely interested in doing, it would be done already!

As I told you last year, “your policy of requiring people to mail in 13 hard-copies plus the original for posting to a docket which is on-line anyway is antiquated, unecological, a barrier to free speech and a burden to those who cannot afford it.”

AZ Attorney General SealDo tell us, you who tout “energy efficiency”, how efficient is it for us to make and snail-mail 14 hard copies? How efficient is it for you to receive and deal with 14 hard copies? Docketing can and should be done electronically, and it should have been set up years ago.

And how ecological is it? Or I should ask, how hypocritical is it for you to have mandated “renewable energy” and then tell us, out of the other side of your mouths, that you want 14 hard copies mailed?

And speaking of hypocrisy, isn’t it absurdly hypocritical for the ACC to mandate “renewable energy” to, amongst other things, “create jobs”, while at the same time the ACC enables utilities to do away with meter reader jobs in the name of “operational savings”?

Or is this just some more of your dark humor, like preaching conservation then upping people’s rates because APS didn’t sell enough electricity?

Anyway, do explain to us how fair it is for people who cannot afford the cost of copying and postage to have to make and mail 14 copies? I have already spent $36 of my own money so that someone who could not afford it could have their 14 hard copies made, delivered and have their voice heard.

aps logoPricing people out of participation is sickeningly metaphoric of a system rigged to favor cash-rich monopolies over fixed-income ratepayers.

The docket runaround I got is also on a par with the month and four emails it took for you to answer a simple question – what percentage were utilities allowed to make on capital improvements? As I explained then, “Other Arizona government agencies that I have occasion to query, whether state or local, all respond in a very timely manner, usually by the following day if not sooner. I do not have to send multiple emails.”

As bad as these examples of third-world-style bureaucratic sloth and disrespect are, unfortunately they are nothing when compared with the gross dereliction of duty you have shown by allowing utilities to foist the costly, rights-violating and bio-hazardous technology known as “smart” meters on us.

Smart Meter that caught on fire after installation

Smart Meter that caught on fire after installation

Hearings – with parties under oath – should have been held long before the first “smart” meter was even installed. Health, privacy, security, property and financial issues should have been thoroughly examined before going ahead. Indeed, in 2007, the ACC itself passed a requirement that “conservation of energy supplied by electric utilities, optimal efficiency of electric utility facilities and resources, and equitable rates for electric consumers” all be considered before “smart” meter installations began. That requirement has not been met.

Again referring to “smart” meters, that same 2007 ACC decision also said, “…both the benefits and the costs of Advanced Metering and Communications should be considered before requiring full-scale implementation.” – again, another unmet requirement.

There seems to be a pattern of the ACC not being able to follow its own rules.

So what happened instead? Nothing but a couple of bogus “workshop” meetings (with no one under oath) to create the facade of transparent democracy. Meanwhile the utilities went on an unexamined, unauthorized, and unregulated “smart” meter installation binge. And remarkably, they still are. 

We are witnessing a classic example of complete regulatory failure. The only real question left is: Was this failure planned from the start and, if so, who got paid to ensure the failure?

Here’s how I see it: You pass some noble sounding requirements that are completely ignored. You feign concern and oversight with a couple of show meetings that some commissioners do not attend or leave early. The meetings accomplish nothing and liars are not liable for anything they say at them since they are not under oath. A docket is set up to lend some faux legitimacy but it’s really part of the rope-a-dope technique being used on the concerned individuals who send in information which is ignored. Before you know it five years have gone by and “smart” meter installation is a done deal.

Is it incompetence or corruption? Either way, it looks like the public is damned.


Warren Woodward
Sedona Arizona 86336 

Cc: Governor Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne

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  1. Preston says:

    Standing up for right v might/God loves scrappy little Davids standing up to Goliaths.

    Truth will be suppressed but it will leak.

  2. Nancy Baer says:

    Sebastopol California City Council makes Smart Meter installations illegal- $500 fine – The Sebastopol City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance banning Smart Meter installation in Sebastopol yesterday. They also adopted a resolution asking the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow communities to opt-out of Smart Meters at no additional cost.

    Sebastopol became the 15th local jurisdiction to make Smart Meter installations illegal, along with Fairfax, Ojai, Santa Cruz, and Marin, Lake, Mendocino and Santa Cruz counties and others.

    Previously Sebastopol had asked PG&E for a moratorium on installations until the CPUC proceeding was complete. PG&E wasn’t complying. Meanwhile their contractors, Wellington were sending installers into Sebastopol, with many apartment buildings and some areas already installed. They will now face fines.

  3. Tracking charges since they installed the smart meter on my home the charges went up $20 per month from previous year. Started talking to others on smart meters and they also said theirs went up $20 a month. So guess it was a smart meter in favor of APS but not the customer.

  4. Best to get your safe analog meter back while you have time. Some utilities have destroyed the analogs, never to be made again. Do it for your children.

  5. N. Baer says:

    Actually, they have not destroyed the analogs. They will most likely be used in Third World countries unless everyone here stands up for our rights not to have ‘smart’ meters intrude on our lives and our health.

    Opt out NOW. Do not wait. Send your certified/return receipt to:

    Donald E. Brandt, Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer and
    David P. Falck, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Pinnacle West and Arizona Public Service Company
    Pinnacle West Capital Corporation
    P.O. Box 53999, Mail Sta. 8602
    Phoenix, AZ 85072-3999
    Today’s Date

    Re: Account [Your Account # Here] at above address

    NOTICE OF NO CONSENT TO TRESPASS AND SURVEILLANCE, NOTICE OF LIABILITY. For rest of letter see FB page “Sedona Local Discussion”

  6. TERESA says:


  7. Lin Ennis says:

    So good to hear more cities are banning smart meters. Maybe now our own City Council will have the courage to keep them out of town until PROVEN safe. (Why are they leaving it to private citizens to try to prove them UNsafe?)

  8. The amount of information that has been disseminated via the Sedona Eye relating to Smart Meters is mind boggling. Those who have spent hours and hours researching this disturbing event about to occur are to be congratulated for their efforts. That we have elected officials who continue to turn their heads to such vast and factual data is shocking. Or is it?

    Presently we have a Mayor who insists on “pre-meetings” prior to regular City Council Meetings (presumably to shorten the length of the “real” meetings.) This of course makes understanding the “real” meetings somewhat difficult because repetitiously the statement “As was discussed during the other meeting . . . ” poses queries as to why wasn’t it “discussed” at the official meeting?

    In addition to the alleged reason for “pre-meetings” as being to cut length of City Council Meetings, presently the council’s agenda is loaded with “Special Council Meetings.” For what reason? To have the opportunity of sitting for an additional 2-hours once or twice a week for a group who has an aversion to “lengthy” meetings? And so they waste time and gas by travelling more frequently to City Hall to attend numerous shorter meetings to decide one or two selected agenda items at a time?

    Makes one question, indeed, just what is going on here. Little wonder “they” haven’t time to ponder a serious health related proposal such as Smart Meters since obviously their priorities lean toward servicing “special interests” of their own choosing. Hmm . . . ?

    Could it be, Warren, that your comment: “But to rule by whim is not only wrong it is also very instructive to see what the whims reflect” might be the very reason the Sedona City Council continues to ignore pleas from a solid segment of the population? Does that not, perhaps, place our own elected officials as being no better than the people about whom you wrote?

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