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ARIZONA PIRG EDUCATION FUND PRAISES ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION’S UNANIMOUS DECISION TO EXTEND GAS MORATORIUM

For Immediate Release

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund applauded state utility regulators for today’s important decision to protect ratepayers and consumers by extending a moratorium on new gas generation exceeding 150 megawatts.

“Placing a pause on APS’ and TEP’s rush to gas provides an opportunity for a fair, independent evaluation of all resource options,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “The decision to extend the gas moratorium to August 1, 2019 can help to protect consumers from rate hikes and future stranded costs due to notoriously volatile gas prices and expensive gas pipelines.”

According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, an over-reliance on gas to generate our electricity would have many negative impacts on Arizonans:

  • Gas is subject to big price swings. When prices go up, consumers pay.

  • Gas expansion requires costly infrastructure investment. The Commission is evaluating significant policy actions including retail competition and Commissioner Andy Tobin’s Energy Modernization Plan. Major expansion of gas now could ultimately saddle ratepayers with significant stranded costs.

  • Gas is imported. Investment in gas sends ratepayer money out of state for fuel. Other options like investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy keep dollars in the state while also supporting local job creation.

This is the second time the Commission has taken assertive action on gas, sending a strong message that Arizona utilities currently have an over-reliance of the fossil fuel in their energy plans and should consider less costly options, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“A gas moratorium is a win for ratepayers,” Brown said. “The  Commission can and should now take the time to ensure utilities are pursuing balanced portfolios.”

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