Arizona Corporation commissioner launches probe of outside influence

Posted at 8:19 AM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 11:19:15-04
An Arizona Corporation Commission member who has been seeking documents from the state's largest electric utility on its possible political spending has hired an attorney to analyze how outside interests may be influencing utility regulators' decisions.
Commissioner Bob Burns said Tuesday he's hired attorney Scott Hempling to do the analysis for the commission. Hempling is a Maryland lawyer who specializes in utility regulation.
Burns says in a statement that the inquiry he's commissioned will review whether regulated electric utilities and other firms the commission may not regulate influence the five-member commission's decisions.
Hempling is also charged with identifying factors that may contribute to uneven influence or undermine public trust in the commission.
The commission oversees electricity providers and other firms that hold monopoly power in the state and approves rates.