Friday, February 26, 2016

New Bill a Step Towards Deregulated Electricity In Arizona

The interest in -- and progress with -- deregulated electricity and energy companies has generally grown at an exponential rate over the last few years. Presumably, as a direct result of the rising costs power suppliers are asking for. The average monthly electric bill for an average American now costs about $107 (or 903 kilowatt hours). 
While many states have already deregulated energy markets to allow for more competition and better rates/service for the consumer, there are still many that are stuck in the old model of energy suppliers, who use only one utility service. Arizona may be one such state for now, but a new piece of legislation that's currently going through the process of being enacted could help to change that. 

According to the industry news source, Arizona State Senator Carlyle Begay is behind the new bill that would create a new power district in Navajo County. While this particular bill would not be for completely deregulated electricity, it would allow individual counties (as opposed to citizens) to make choices with private businesses that could improve the quality and reliability of their services. 

"This legislation is designed to form a power district in Navajo County, creating a new source of revenue for the county, as well as jobs," said Skyler Careaga, Chief Executive Officer of SEC Power. "This legislation should also help with spurring the local economy, creating new business development with a redundant, secure source of power and infrastructure for businesses to operate." 

Most importantly of all, perhaps, is the fact that it would all be done without raising local taxes, since it would be privately funded and developed. Careaga was also quick to point to an Excel document he had that shows 64 pages of power outages between 2006 and 2009 alone. Many of these are believed to have been avoidable under the conditions of the new bill. 

As technology has evolved, our electricity usage has increased accordingly. In 2013 U.S. electricity use was 13 times greater than it was in 1950. Fortunately, the cost of generating electrons currently accounts for less than half of the price of electricity, according to the Edison Electric Institute. As recently as 1995, it accounted for two-thirds. 

While the bill won't establish completely-deregulated electricity, it could be an important step in opening the eyes of citizens who have been reluctant to explore changes to the way electricity and energy are provided and show everyone how efficient the private sector can be in a traditionally public domain.

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