ACC candidate backpedals on 'no utility rate hikes' pledge - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

ACC candidate backpedals on 'no utility rate hikes' pledge

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Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:15 pm | Updated: 5:06 pm, Thu Oct 14, 2010.

A candidate for Arizona Corporation Commission admitted Wednesday a promise on a campaign sign needs a footnote with some fine print.

David Bradley has erected signs around the state promising “no utility rate hikes.’’ That is a significant statement being that commissioners act as judges on requests and are required to balance the needs of consumers with the right of utilities to earn a reasonable rate of return.

It also is significant because, if elected, Bradley would be on the commission for four years.

Questioned about the signs, Bradley said they overstate what he is promising.

“My position is no utility rate hikes for the next six months,’’ the Democratic candidate told Capitol Media Services.

Bradley also said he was not prejudging any request that would come before him, either in that timeframe or beyond.

“I think it’s more a statement of reality than anything else,’’ he said.

“No utility with half a brain is going to try and raise utility rates,’’ Bradley continued. “I’m just saying that coming in right now, during the end of the recession period for us, would be ludicrous.’’

But Bradley acknowledged that doesn’t mean some electric, gas, phone, water or private sewer company won’t file papers saying it needs to raise rates.

“I’m saying, ‘Don’t bother,’ ” he said.

And he said that makes the “no utility rate hikes’’ message on his signs not so much for voters as for the companies.

Two seats are up for grabs at the commission this year.

Incumbent Republican Gary Pierce wants another four-year term. His running mate is Brenda Burns, a former state legislator.

Running as a Democrat with Bradley is Jorge Garcia. Both are current lawmakers and both are from Tucson.

Also seeking office are Libertarian Rick Fowlkes and Green Party contender Theodore Gomez.

Kris Mayes, who chairs the commission, cannot seek another term.

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