Arizona Public Service Co. v. Arizona Corp. Commission
In Arizona Public Service Co. v. Arizona Corp. Commission, 189 Ariz. 192, 194, 939 P.2d 1345, 1347 (App. 1997) the Commission had adopted new rules governing competition in the electric industry. A.A.C. R14-2-1601 through R14-2-1616 .
The new rules required, among other things, that each utility offer an increasing minimum of competitive electrical services over time to residential and non-residential customers until all electrical services were competitive. Id.
A number of electrical providers appealed the adoption of the rules. Id.
They filed their appeal directly in this court, claiming jurisdiction because the rules affected rates. Id.
After examining the legislative history behind A.R.S. 40-254.01 the Court concluded that the major concern in crafting the statute was to reduce the time and expense of appealing a rate case in superior court. Ariz. Senate Comm. on Judiciary, 40th Leg., 1st Reg. Sess. (Minutes Apr. 16, 1991 at 10).
A rate case is a specific regulatory proceeding. See A.A.C. R14-2-103 (filing requirements and time limits for rate cases). As described by Commission rules a "rate case" concerns a proposed change in rates by a public service corporation. A.A.C. R14-2-103 .
In light of the statutory language and its history, the Court rejected the argument that a Commission order could be directly appealed to this court as related to "rate making or rate design" merely because it affected rates. APS, 189 Ariz. at 194, 939 P.2d at 1347.
The Court determined that a broader interpretation of the statute "would essentially eliminate most appeals to the superior court and exceed what we believe the legislature intended. " Id.