Just Back from NARUC

About the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance

In the late 1990s the forces of law, technology and economics intersected in a way that would be critical to Arizona's Future. Law:   FERC's order 888 guaranteed wholesale electric generators access to the electric grid.  Technology:  Combined cycle gas turbines with low heat rates and low emissions took advantage of low natural gas prices in order to produce power at marginal rates that were lower than incumbent utilities' coal fleets.  Economics:  Maricopa County consistently placed number one or two in the fastest growing counties in the nation.  

As a result of these forces, Independent Power Producers invested billions of dollars into Arizona by constructing a series of power plants in order to sell power throughout the western United States, and especially to Arizonans through Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project.  Independent producers eventually built enough generation that they could replace APS's entire generating capacity--twice over.  

In 2001 a group of these Independent Power Producers formed the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance.  They hired Greg Patterson* as the founding Director in order to represent them at the Arizona Corporation Commission and Arizona Legislature.

In the subsequent 18 years, the record has become clear;  Independent Power Producers have saved Arizona consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, provided increased electric reliability and flexibility all while paying millions of dollars in taxes to the state and local jurisdictions.  

Over the last 18 years, the AzCPA has participated in every APS rate case as well as Arizona Corporation Commission Rule Making proceedings, Integrated Resource Planning, Biennial Transmission Assessments and scores of workshops.  Throughout that time, the AzCPA has fought for open markets, increased competition and an opportunity to bid for the right to serve Arizona consumers.

A lot has changed since 2001.  Natural gas prices have become so low that coal plants are no longer economically viable.  Wind and solar power have become so cost effective that they are the lowest priced marginal resource.  Storage in becoming increasingly viable and cost effective.  

AzCPA members have evolved as well and AzCPA members continue to provide the most cost-effective resources to Arizonans.   Through the AzCPA, they will continue to fight for the right to compete in order to provide those resources.

Footnote:

Petition picture (2)Greg Patterson was raised in Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona's Accounting program in 1985 and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of law at Arizona State University 2008.  Greg is a CPA as well as an attorney. 

In 1990 Greg was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.  He served on the Appropriations and Natural Resources Committees, and he went on to chair the House Government Operations Committee.  He later Chaired the House Banking and Insurance Committee.

In 1995, Greg was appointed by then Governor Symington as Director of the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO).  In his capacity as RUCO director, Greg participated in over 100 rate proceedings before the Arizona Corporation Commission and negotiated the electric competition settlements on behalf of residential consumers.

During his RUCO tenure, Greg also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  He lectured on various utility-regulation topics in Zambia, Tanzania and Albania and Egypt.

In 1999, Greg left RUCO and accepted a position as Chief of Staff of the Arizona State Senate. In 2001, Greg became the Director of the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance.  

In 2008, Greg was Elected to the Governing Board of the Maricopa County Integrated Health System—the Board that runs the Maricopa County Hospital, 11 clinics and the burn center.

In 2009, the Arizona Capital Times Newspaper named Greg one of the “Ten most Influential Arizonans of the Past Decade.”

In 2012, Governor Brewer appointed Greg to the Arizona Board of Regents.  He served as a Regent for five years.    

 

 

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