O’Connell: Prop. 127 is conservative, rigging the system is not

The right to vote is something everyone should cherish. I certainly do. Here in Arizona, our voting power is not limited to electing candidates. It also extends to statewide ballot initiatives where we can directly enact policy.

Roselyn O’Connell

One such initiative on November’s ballot is Proposition 127, which requires Arizona utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Adding more diversity to our state’s electricity mix is overdue. Arizona has no significant natural gas reserves, yet almost 30 percent of our electricity comes from gas—and Arizona Public Service plans to add a lot more gas generation.

This should greatly concern ratepayers because the price of that out-of-state gas is projected to double by 2030. Another third of Arizona’s electricity comes from coal, which is also costly and hauled in from other states.

Solar and wind energy, however, is right here—and only getting cheaper.

For example, the Central Arizona Project recently signed a 20-year deal with AZ Solar to purchase solar power for $24.99 per megawatt-hour (MWh). That is well below the $47 per MWh price of power from a new combined-cycle gas plant.

For our state, shifting from those costly out-of-state fuels to Arizona-produced solar, is the prudent—and therefore, conservative— choice.

So why has APS spent more than $11 million on a scare campaign to mislead voters? Its ads falsely claim that Prop. 127 will result in higher energy prices. The exact opposite is true. As evidence, APS only offers a study it financed and provided assumptions for. Far more credible research found that Prop. 127 would save Arizonans more than $4 billion.

More importantly, independent studies and real world examples show that renewable standards like Prop. 127 do not cause rate increases. Utilities everywhere, including here in Arizona, are buying renewable energy at record low prices.

Yet, APS and its surrogates are trying every trick they can think of to rig the system and undermine Prop. 127 before we can even vote. In March, Gov. Ducey signed a special interest bill crafted specifically to let utilities ignore Prop. 127’s renewable targets by establishing ridiculously low fines for violating those standards.

Ducey’s statements defending the bill were completely dismissive of voters and state ballot initiatives. Echoing the claims of APS, the governor complained that “mandates at the ballot box” do not provide companies enough “flexibility.”

More recently, Attorney General Mark Brnovich ordered changes to the official ballot language for Prop. 127 designed to bias voters against the measure. The revised ballot language reflects the same deceptive messaging employed by APS.

These schemes to rig the system against Arizona voters— and our ability to pass this popular and much needed ballot initiative—show just how corrosive special interest money can be to our democracy. There is nothing conservative about rigging the system and undercutting the democratic principles our country is founded on.

We cannot afford to be denied low cost energy that can be abundantly and forever found right here at home.

Fully developing our state’s unique potential for renewable energy is the smart and conservative choice for Arizona. Let’s not cling to the past. By saying “yes” to Prop 127, we can secure our future with reliable and affordable power.

Editor’s note: Ms. O’Connell is a Scottsdale resident

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable. Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment