Arizona Corporation Commission discusses allowing residents to choose their power company

Soon people in Arizona may have the choice of who to get their power from. The Arizona Corporation Commission is in talks of energy deregulation.

According to Chairman Robert Burns, the ACC is working on a set of rules to possibly change the power model we have now from a monopoly to a customer choice model.

This is nothing that will happen fast as there's still many steps ahead.

Burns says they are looking at possible ways to change the distribution of power. One, he says, will be more convenient and lower costs, allowing the customer to choose who to get their power from.

"In the private, competitive model, if you don't please that customer and put that customer first, you lose that customer to someone else who will. In the monopoly system, that doesn't happen. There's no loss of the customer," Burns said.

Burns says these ideas came about because of all the ways power can be generated and stored now. In the past, there was just one source, forcing a monopoly.

"With the continuing reduction in cost of storage through batteries, there becomes more and more opportunities to use these other types of generation, solar and wind especially," Burns said.

With a customer choice model, Burns says customers could use contracted plans and set rates during that time. This is something AARP Associate Director Stephen Jennings says is a bad idea.

"A lot of people get into teaser contracts that have cheap rates initially and then end up with variable rates and it ends up costing them more," Jennings said.

Jennings says studies have shown most people don't get cheaper rates.

"Arizona has affordable electricity. It's below the national average already. I don't know what problem we're trying to solve," Jennings said.

FOX 10 is told that several other power companies have already expressed interest in coming to Arizona.

There will be several meetings between those for and against this, and most likely amendments to any rules will be made.

In order for the model to be changed, it will take three "yes" votes from the commission.