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Arizona Corporation Commission Votes to Expand Energy Efficiency

Vote advances energy and financial savings for ratepayers
For Immediate Release

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), Arizona PIRG Education Fund, and Wildfire: Igniting Community Action to End Poverty in Arizona, commended Chairman Bob Burns and Commissioners Boyd Dunn, Sandra Kennedy, and Lea Marquez Peterson - utility regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission - for voting yesterday to expand Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard through 2030.

Under the new energy efficiency policy greenlighted by regulators, customers of Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power will receive more rebates and services to replace old air conditioners, swap out inefficient water heaters, upgrade lighting, patch air leaks, and otherwise cut energy waste.

Over the last decade, efficiency programs offered by APS and TEP have saved ratepayers more than $1.4 billion, avoided the need to construct 14 gas combustion turbines, saved more than 15 billion gallons of water, and enabled more than 40,000 jobs statewide. According to the organizations, the Commission’s new policy will save ratepayers even more, because “the cheapest power plant is the one you never have to build”. Efficiency programs reduce how much electricity customers’ collectively use. As a result, utility companies avoid building new power plants and transmission and distribution lines which can cost ratepayers billions of dollars.

While noting the Commission’s vote is a step in their process, each of the organizations pointed to the significance of their action:

Ellen Zuckerman, Director of the Utility Program for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said, “Yesterday utility regulators put Arizona ratepayers first by supporting a policy to make electricity bills more affordable. Energy efficiency is the cheapest way for Arizona to meet its energy needs. By eliminating energy waste, we reduce the need to generate power from more expensive options while supporting more local jobs, cleaner air and water, healthier families, and more affordable electricity. The policy that regulators advanced creates the right incentives to eliminate energy waste, further investment and growth, and allow Arizona to lead the nation on energy efficiency.”

Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, stated, “Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard has resulted in savings equivalent to the energy use of more than 500,000 homes, saved more than 15 billion gallons of water, and produced more than $1 billion in net economic benefits. Expanding Arizona’s very successful Energy Efficiency Standard will result in even more energy, water, and financial savings for ratepayers.”

Cynthia Zwick, Executive Director of Wildfire: Igniting Community Action to End Poverty in Arizona added, “Energy efficiency provides utility bill savings to limited income households and other residents in Arizona. The less money utilities spend on new power plants and transmission lines, the greater the savings for ratepayers.”

Last month, the sameutility regulators voted to approve energy-saving programs that will provide financial relief to APS ratepayers.

The organizations applauded utility regulators for their vote which recognizes energy efficiency as Arizona’s least expensive way to meet energy needs, while supporting local job creation, saving water, and reducing harmful air pollution.

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