Miller v. Arizona Corporation Commission (setting energy policy case)

Posted on June 27, 2008 | Type: Case
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Case background:

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is established under the Arizona Constitution with limited power to regulate utility rates, but over the years it has expanded its powers beyond its constitutional jurisdiction. The ACC recently adopted sweeping new rules requiring utilities to derive a specified share of their power from alternative sources. The rules have resulted in rate surcharges to residential and business customers that will total millions of dollars.

The Goldwater Institute asked the Maricopa County Superior Court to strike down renewable energy regulations imposed by the Arizona Corporation Commission. The lawsuit, Miller v. Arizona Corporation Commission, argues that the rules exceed the Commission's limited constitutional and statutory authority, violate separation of powers, and impermissibly interfere with the relationship of all utilities and their customers. On September 2, 2009 the Court ruled in favor of the Arizona Corporation Commission. The Goldwater Institute has appealed.

The Stakes:

  • The principle of limited government, wherein agency power is governed by its constitutional and statutory authority. 
  • The separation of powers, wherein the Arizona Legislature has responsibility for the state’s policy in regards to renewable energy unless and until it delegates that power to another agency.
  • Millions of dollars in surcharges consumer must pay so their utility can meet the ACC requirements, including $48.2 million for APS customers alone in one year.

View Press Release Below:

Goldwater Institute Appeals Lawsuit Against Arizona Corporation Commission

Goldwater Institute Will Appeal Ruling on Corporation Commission Renewable Energy Rules

Trial Court Gives Corporation Commission Unprecedented Power in Upholding Renewable Energy Surcharges

Goldwater Institute challenges Corporation Commission rules estimated to add $1.2 billion to utility rates

Goldwater Institute Challenges $48.2 million APS Rate Charge

Case Documents:

May 9, 2011 Petition for Review (Supreme Court)

April 7, 2011 Ruling (Court of Appeals)

Reply on Appeal and Answer on Cross-Appeal

Brief (Court of Appeals)


Ruling (Superior Court)

Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment (Superior Court)

Motion for Summary Judgment (Superior Court)

Complaint-Superior Court

Petition for Special Action (Court of Appeals)

Reply (Supreme Court)

Petition for special action (Supreme Court)

Case Timeline:

  • November 14, 2006: The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) adopts the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) Rules.
  • February 1, 2007: Arizona Chief Assistant Attorney Terri Skladany tells ACC that the authority it cited to promulgate the REST rules is "vague."
  • March 30, 2007: ACC submits a memorandum in response in which it admits that there is no "isolated source of statutory or constitutional authority" to support the REST rules.
  • June 15, 2007: The Arizona Attorney General approves the REST rules.
  • August 14, 2007: The REST rules go into effect.
  • April 28, 2008: The APS implementation plan for REST is approved by the ACC, and APS estimates costs of $48.2 million in 2008 and total $347 million by 2012.
  • June 27, 2008: The Goldwater Institute asks the Arizona Supreme Court to strike down the regulations imposed by the ACC.
  • November 12, 2008: The Goldwater Institute refiles special action in the Court of Appeals after Arizona Supreme Court declines to exercise special-action jurisdiction. 
  • November 19, 2008: The Goldwater Institute refiles complaint in the Superior Court after the Court of Appeals declines to exercise special-action jurisdiction.
  • June 15, 2009: The Hon. Joseph Heilman heard oral arguments at 10:00 am in Courtroom 814, 101 W. Jefferson in Phoenix.
  • September 2, 2009: Judge Heilman ruled in favor of the Arizona Corporation Commission. The Goldwater Institute decides to appeal.
  • November 2, 2009: Goldwater Institute files appeal.
  • November 16, 2010: Arguments scheduled at 10:15 a.m. in Court of Appeals, Courtroom #1 (second floor), 1501 W. Washington Street, Phoenix.

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