Docket No. E-00000W-13-0135
August 16, 2013
Dear Arizona Corporation Commission members:
The Pima County Interfaith Council, which represents more than 30 institutions and 40,000 local residents, would like to express our concern regarding the issues of retail electrical competition and the potential extreme consequences for Arizona consumers.
Our preliminary review of the retail competition system provides very disturbing data that suggests rate payers, and in particular, low income rate payers will be harmed substantially by increased costs associated with retail competition. In our review of how other states have fared, all indications point to a volatile market that would be harmful for our overall community.
Further, we are concerned that retail competition will particularly harm the poor. This proposed change could lead to the elimination of programs such as bill payment assistance and meaningful utility discounts since there will be little incentive for any utility to put itself at a competitive disadvantage. We are also concerned other companies will fail to engage at the grass-roots level in issues such as energy efficient financing programs that matter to the community. There are many more important issues in our community than just a promise of a lower electric bill. There needs to be a sense of community and caring for those less fortunate or on a fixed income. We feel there is a moral responsibility for the stewardship of the gift of Creation.
We hope that you will consider the bigger picture: the impact that retail competition will have across all classes of customers, not just the few larger commercial users. We hope that you will weigh not just potential positives but also disconcerting negatives that will inevitably come with any significant change in retail electrical competition.
Peter Woods, PCIC Strategy Team, St. Cyril’s Catholic
Alice Weekly,PCIC Green Team Chair, St. Francis UMC
Hank Kryzik, PCIC Green Team, Our Mother of Sorrows
Our decision last month to weigh-in on the energy deregulation decision had important consequences. After meeting last Monday in Phoenix with Arizona Corporation Commission member Susan Bitter Smith, the ACC announced on Thursday that they would not pursue deregulation. Larry Lucero, TEP’s Senior Director of Government and External Affairs, told us on Friday that PCIC’s docketed letter to the ACC (attached) and visit to Phoenix had a significant impact. Thanks to Patsy Stewart, Art Evans, Hank Kryzik and the VIP leaders who joined us for the meeting with Commissioner Bitter Smith. She happened to be a member of an active VIP congregation.
View/Download letter HERE.
Dear Pastors, Clergy, and Lay Leaders,
A Community Issues Accountability Session will be held at 2:00 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 6, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church located at 601 E. Ft. Lowell. It will tackle the related issues of bifurcation and poverty. In case you missed it, yesterday’s Star carried an article saying that 10% of earners took home more than 50% of the country’s income in 2012.
Bifurcation is the new term being used to describe marketing to both ends of the economic spectrum. Think Toyota and its sister brand, Lexus. The Iphone 5 vs. the Iphone for China. Or this week’s doozy heard on NPR: basic toilet paper vs. embossed and perfumed rolls. It’s the business world’s reaction to ever-increasing income inequality.
What is the religious world’s reaction?
Lately, there’s a lot being said about poverty. Among the country’s largest cities, Tucson is the 6th poorest. Who is responsible? What should be done?
What’s your institution’s reaction to poverty?
In truth, we are all responsible as a community and there are many concrete things that could be done. On Oct. 6, Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) leaders will ask city and county officials and candidates what they plan to do about poverty.
This will not be an interview, a campaign speech, or an unscripted town hall meeting. In addition to open-ended questions dealing with poverty, there will be specific questions targeted to concrete issues (i.e., bus fares, funding for JobPath, etc.) that directly affect the poor.
Please attend and invite your congregation to participate at this session at Sacred Hearth. This is one of Tucson’s poorest neighborhoods, so it’ll be a very appropriate place to discuss poverty. Flyers, bulletin announcements, and sign-up sheets are attached.
All the Democratic and Republican candidates for city council wards 3 and 5 and County Supervisor Richard Elias have confirmed their attendance. Keep in mind that city council members run in ward primaries, BUT in a citywide general election. Issues such as education, jobs, youth, bus fares, and immigration will be discussed.
PCIC’s pledge is to hold public officials accountable for their promises AFTER the election. That means at budget time and all year long, whenever important decisions that affect the common good are being made.
The leadership of PCIC hopes that you and your congregants will join us on Oct. 6th.
For the PCIC Strategy Team:
Rev. Tom Tureman, Most Holy Trinity
Mr. Ernie Lujan, Santa Cruz Parish / Casa Maria
Rev. Leah Sandwell-Weiss, St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal
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