PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Just as the valley heats up, Arizona Public Service is raising rates significantly. They want to raise rates 8% and propose a cut that some believe would decimate Arizona's rooftop solar industry.
APS says they haven't raised rates in years and the time is now. They want the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve the increase, but it appears it will face a tough fight.
The proposed hike would raise electric bills by $11, adding $166 million to APS's bottom line.
"That reflects the amount we need to recover to cover the costs of our investment to build and maintain a modern grid that can support the customer's wants and desires into the future," said Stefanie Layton with APS.
"We've been spending money over the last five years, about $1 billion a year in improvements to our infrastructure," said Layton.
APS is proposing a new type of billing, similar to "surge pricing" where you'd be charged more if your power us increases during peak hours.
"A very very dramatic and draconian rate increase request," said Kris Mays.
Mays is a former corporation commissioner and now represents a solar advocacy group.
"It is going to affect everybody; families, it will affect seniors, it will affect the solar homeowner. People will no longer be able to afford to go solar because of this APS proposal," said Mays.
APS is also proposing the amount it uses to reimburse rooftop solar customers for the power they send back into the system.
"It's really disappointing to see APS make a proposal that would clearly decimate the solar industry in our state," said Mays.
APs says the cost of their power has only increased an average of 1.6% per year over the past 20 years. Less than the rate of inflation and the consumer price index.
The filing marks the beginning of a long period of meetings and discussion at the CC. If APS gets their way, the rates would go into effect in July of 2017.