Saturday, September 05, 2009

APS as a Jobs Program

Apparently the Arizona Corporation Commission Chairwoman now sees APS as a public jobs program. APS is taking bids for IT work, perhaps from offshore. The objective is to lower costs and hence prices for rate payers.

However, the Chairwoman has other concerns.

Arizona Corporation Commission Chairwoman Kris Mayes, whose organization regulates APS and other utilities, said the APS price shopping was a concern.

"Obviously, they are asking for these quotes because they think they will be able to find cheaper labor somewhere else," Mayes said. "I don't think that APS and our other utilities have to go looking for workers in India in order to cut costs. I know there are other cost savings APS can engage in without shipping Arizona jobs overseas."

As for the other cost savings, Mayes did provide an example.

Mayes said she would prefer to see APS cut other expenses such as lobbying, and that the cost savings for using offshore labor do not compensate for the lost jobs in Arizona.

This doesn't make a lot of sense. Mayes is inserting herself and the ACC into a business decision by a private company. She then wants them to cut back on trying to influence elected officials like herself and the other commissioners. Seems to me her actions here would cause APS to increase their lobbying efforts, not decrease them. If you can't make a basic business decision based on costs without getting permission from a politician, then you need to spend more time working with the politician. This is known as lobbying.

She goes on.

"We are not talking about a competitive industry here," Mayes said. "It is a monopoly utility that is supported by Arizona consumers."

She said there likely were unemployed computer programmers in Arizona who could use the work from APS...

"The company has an obligation to do everything it can to keep these jobs in Arizona," Mayes said. "The jobs are being financed by Arizona ratepayer dollars. I have hard time seeing Arizona ratepayer dollars going to India and Ireland."

So apparently APS is now the ACC's own public jobs program. It's not about lower costs and hence lower prices for utility customers, it's about jobs for Arizona.

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