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The Goldwater Institute, a research and litigation organization based in Phoenix, has asked the Arizona Supreme Court to strike down renewable energy regulations imposed by the Arizona Corporation Commission that will cost electricity customers millions. The lawsuit, Miller v. Arizona Corporation Commission, argues that the rules exceed the commission's limited constitutional authority, violate separation of powers and impermissibly interferes with the relationship between Arizona Public Service (APS) and its customers.

"The rules are an unconstitutional power grab by an agency that is rapidly becoming Arizona's fourth branch of government," says Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute's Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. "Public policy regarding renewable energy should be set by the Legislature, not by an agency whose constitutional authority is limited to setting rates."

The rules require utility companies to generate a minimum percentage of their power through renewable sources. To fund the mandate, last month the commission approved rate surcharges for APS's 1.1 million residential and commercial customers. Surcharges for other utilities have been or will be approved by the commission so that virtually every utility customer in the state will see increased bills.

APS estimates that its Arizona customers will pay $48.2 million this year and $100 million by 2012 in increased utility rates because of the rules.

SOURCE: The Goldwater Institute

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