By: Dan Allegretti
How would you feel if your elected officials did your subscription shopping for you, deciding who will provide your mobile phone service, which streaming networks you can watch, what newspapers you can read or where you can have a gym membership? Most of us would not sit still for something that heavy-handed so why is it that we let them decide who will provide our electricity? In many states, consumers are free to choose their electricity provider and their preferred subscription plan. In Arizona, however, that’s not the case yet because special interests have been telling lawmakers and regulators that ordinary people either don’t want or cannot understand electricity subscription plans and therefore the state needs to “simplify” it all by making your choices for you.
The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) believes there is a better way. We believe people actually are smart enough to shop for their subscriptions and we recognize that people want choice in electricity. A commissioned 2020 nationwide poll of registered voters by Ragnar Research, reveals that 74% of Americans want to select their own energy supplier. We think Arizona lawmakers should listen to their constituents and join the states which have already implemented statewide retail electric choice.
There are many falsehoods and speculations regarding the retail energy market that get spread. When these false statements are repeated often enough voters and lawmakers alike can be dangerously misled. In our view decisions that affect Arizona consumers must be based instead on facts.
So here are the facts: First, there is no state in which electricity sales are “deregulated”. Retail energy supply companies are all required to be licensed and each must follow stringent rules and regulations overseen by a state regulatory agency, such as the Arizona Corporation Commission. Second, competition creates powerful incentives to bring down costs for customers. Research posted on RESA’s website shows that customers who live in choice states have seen declining electricity costs over time, while customers in states without choice have generally seen the opposite. Third, retail competition is good for the environment. Competition allows consumers to elect cleaner energy from sources such as wind and solar generation. A study by the Pacific Research Institute finds that from 2008 to 2018 greenhouse gas emissions in competitive states declined on average 12.1% compared to 7.3% in monopoly states.
Unfortunately, the prospect of electric choice in Arizona is currently under attack. The Arizona House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy & Water sent House Bill 2101 to the full House for a vote, which would outlaw your right to customer choice and protect electric monopolies and deprive Arizonans of the benefits of choice. Although it did not pass, the fight is not over. Senate version SB 1631, a similar bill, is still in play. Despite 55 individuals/organizations are FOR the bill, and 608 are AGAINST the bill, lawmakers believe it is the right thing to do. Call or write your state senator now and tell them you oppose SB 1631.