PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Big changes are coming to the Arizona Corporation Commission this election with three of the five seats up for grabs.

The commission monitors and regulates hundreds of Arizona utility companies, including the embattled power company Arizona Public Service, or APS.

electric poles

Commissioners are in charge of making sure utility companies fairly charge Arizonans.

In most states, the corporation commissioners are appointed by the governor. But in Arizona, we get to vote on them. Commissioners are in charge of making sure utility companies fairly charge Arizonans.

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"This is easily the one branch of government in Arizona that touches our lives every single day we live, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed," said former corporation commissioner Kris Mayes.

Mayes knows how important these partisan positions are. She served on the commission for nearly eight years prior to 2010. Issues like how much renewable and clean energy we use are major for this state, but also much more.

APS

APS has been under fire for several issues in the last few years.

"How do we tackle climate change? How do we make sure that people are protected in summertime from high utility bills and don't get shut off during this pandemic?" said Mayes.

One of the most notable companies they regulate, powerhouse APS.

The utility's been under fire for several issues in the last few years.

Last year, a subpoena revealed APS spent more than $10 million to influence the 2014 corporation commission election. In 2017, the commission approved a rate hike for APS that thousands of customers complained sent their bills skyrocketing by hundreds of dollars.

"The last commissioners who voted for that rate hike all had millions of dollars spent on their campaigns by the utility monopoly APS Pinnacle West who they're supposed to be regulating," said Stacey Champion.

Champion has spent years fighting for justice for those who pay the company to keep their power on. APS vowed to stay out of these races this election. Champion said this is a step in the right direction.

"I would say that these are three of the most important seats in the state right now," Champion said.

Former commissioner Mayes said voters should read up on the candidates to know what issues you're voting for.

You can find all candidate information here.

 

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