PHOENIX (AP) — A political consulting firm pitched a proposal to Arizona Public Service Co. for a stealth campaign to change how the state regulates utilities, with some aspects appearing similar to steps now being taken APS in an ongoing policy fight.
Nathan Sproul, the head of the Tempe-based consulting firm whose since-departed representatives made the 2009 pitch, said they did that at APS' request, which APS executives denied.
CEO Don Brandt said he "immediately dismissed" the proposal, The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/1fNKFfj ) reported.
The consulting firm's former representatives, Jessica Pacheco and Brian Murray, also said the same thing. Pacheco now works for APS as its chief lobbyist, while Murray works for a different firm that does work for APS.
"I was probably hired in spite of the plan," Pacheco said. "This company would never do that."
The 2009 proposal said APS could funnel money behind the scenes to groups to build public support for steps to create a more favorable regulatory environment.
Those could include having appointed members added to the Arizona Corporation Commission — its five members are now elected — or giving the Legislature final say over utility rates.
APS officials said such a plan never would have been put to use at the utility, and that no one within APS would have requested such a plan from consultants.
Outpatient ROBOTIC HYSTERECTOMY. Trust an experienced Robotic Surgeon.