Tribal Benefits When the Utility Crosses State Borders

The electric utility situation on the reservation is complex due to the reservation covering parts of three states. Electrical service was provided by two utilities besides AMPS: Mohave Electric Cooperative in Arizona served the reservation east of the river and the City of Needles Department of Public Utilities served the reservation west of the river. Prior to AMPS, no service was available in the Nevada portion of the reservation.

One of the General Manager's first actions was to send letters to the Public Utility Commissions of Arizona, California, and Nevada informing them of AMPS' intentions and asking them to determine whether or not they would have jurisdiction over AMPS' operations. In all three cases, the Commission responded that as AMPS' remained a tribally owned and operated entity operating within the reservation, the state Commissions have no regulatory authority over AMPS' actions. Thus, the roles of ensuring fair rates and protection of the public interest commonly assumed by state Commissions were left to the tribe.

The creation and establishment of AMPS as a legal entity required filing several applications and other legal documents with various federal agencies. The majority of the government dealings were with and continue to be with agencies of the federal government. Contact with the states was mostly for the purpose of formally pronouncing what was already understood.