Yahoo News

An Arizona state official has threatened to shut off Los Angeles’ Arizona-based electricity supply in retaliation for the city’s decision to boycott the state. Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce told L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a letter that 25 percent of L.A.’s electricity comes from Arizona, and he’d “be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements.”

“I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands,” Pierce wrote to Villaraigosa (PDF). “If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.”

[Video: Boycott us and we’ll cut your power, Arizona official says]

Conservative websites like Hot Air are playing up Pierce’s letter, but it seems like the move could also hurt Arizona. Los Angeles could procure utilities from another state, and Arizona-based utilities would lose the city as a customer. California gets about a third of its electricity from Arizona, Fox News reports, most of it from a nuclear power plant outside Phoenix, coal-fired power plants and two hydroelectric power generators. APS, the energy company that owns the nuclear power plant, has not returned a call seeking comment.

Last week, L.A.’s City Council voted to end city travel to Arizona and future contracts with the state in protest of the state’s new immigration law, which critics say will promote racial profiling. Arizona could lose $52 million in contracts from L.A.

Mayor Villaraigosa was in Washington visiting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, but an aide released a statement in response to Pierce’s letter, NBC’s L.A. television affiliate reported: “The mayor stands strongly behind the City Council, and he will not respond to threats from the state that has isolated itself from an America that values freedom, liberty and basic civil rights.”

UPDATE: It appears Pierce’s plan isn’t tenable. Alan Bunnell, a spokesman for APS, the energy company that owns the nuclear power plant, tells Yahoo! News that California owns a stake in most of the Arizona-based plants that provide them with energy, including the nuclear facility in question “They actually are owners in them, it’s not like they have contracts with them,” Bunnell said.

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