Arizona Corporation Commission

A member of the state's utility regulation panel says he wants Arizona electric utilities to nearly double the amount of power they get from renewable resources.

The full Arizona Corporation Commission has rejected an effort by Commissioner Bob Burns to hire an attorney to analyze how outside interests may be influencing utility regulators' decisions.

Former Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin has been appointed to fill a Corporation Commission post that was vacated earlier this month with the resignation of Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith.

The appointment by Gov. Doug Ducey was announced Wednesday.

Bitter Smith's resignation came as she was accused of having a conflict of interest for allegedly lobbying for companies the commission regulates.

She said she believes she's on solid legal ground but the issue has become a distraction to the commission.

Tobin will serve the final year of Bitter Smith's term.

Ryan Randazzo / The Arizona Republic

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith has resigned, effective Jan. 4.

Earlier Thursday, a lawyer for Bitter Smith urged the Arizona Supreme Court to reject an effort to remove her from office because of an alleged conflict of interest.

The filing by attorney Ed Novak says Attorney General Mark Brnovich's conclusion that Bitter Smith lobbies for a company the commission regulates is false.

Bitter Smith says she believes she's on solid legal ground, but the issue has become a distraction to the important work of the commission.

Melissa Sevigny

Arizona ranks third in the nation for small-scale solar installations, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.