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Wed, Oct. 23

<I>Arizona Corporation Commission</I><BR>Both candidates want to protect consumers

What will you try to do to keep gas and electricity prices in line?

Seel: We need another (natural gas) pipeline and we desperately need natural gas storage within the state, so that we can buy natural gas when it is inexpensive and store it and use it in the wintertime when it is expensive. That will also dovetail intro electricity prices because a very large percentage of our electricity is generated by natural gas-fired (power) plants. By doing that, you will keep the prices of electricity down. I would also advocate opening up free-market forces in relation to the environmental portfolio (the requirement that electric utilities buy 1.1 percent of their supply from alternative energy sources). Sixty percent of that requirement is solar. The other 40 percent is those three other (sources): biomass (from burning trees), landfill (methane) and wind (power). … I would want the consumer to buy biomass directly. That opens it up to free-market forces. When you open it up to free-market forces, prices go down and quality goes up.

Mayes: First, we need to promote natural gas storage and hedging of natural gas by utilities. Hedging is buying gas that you believe will be lower (in cost) than in the future. Storage also serves that purpose. The other thing we need in Arizona is a new natural gas pipeline because we are going to have a shortage in two years if we don't have another pipeline. And that will only exacerbate prices. We need additional (electric) generation and transmission. So far in Arizona electricity prices have remained relatively low compared to California, but we need to remain vigilant.

What expertise do you bring to the job?

Seel: The expertise that I bring to the job is I am a business owner. I had a financial services business. Currently, I am in advertising. I am the best-qualified Republican. I have been endorsed by every prominent Republican in the state Legislature. And I support all the planks of the Republican platform.

Mayes: I have a law degree (from Arizona State University). I have a master's degree in public policy (from Columbia University). I did my master's thesis on electric deregulation. The most important skill I bring to the job is the skill I learned as a journalist (at the Arizona Republic), and that is how to ask tough questions of powerful people.

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