PHOENIX - Arizona Public Service (APS) wants to raise rates for next year. A request to raise its rates was filed last week, but it's not a done deal -- yet. It will take about a year to 18 months for customers to see the proposed rate increase on their bills.
After public hearings, ultimately, the Arizona Corporation Commission will vote and make the final decision.
APS raised its rates by 4.5% in 2017. Now, two years later, it wants to raise its rates again, by more than 5%, saying it needs $184 million, which it has already invested in creating clean and renewable energy, and improving infrastructure to keep up with Arizona's growing population.
"The rate case is our opportunity and bring forward receipts and ask for recovery of those investments," said Drew Schroeder, APS rate case program manager. "We're also putting forward a subscription rate pilot. This would give customers price certainty for two years."
The request comes two months after ACC commissioners grilled APS' CEO and top executives about overspending, bribery and corruption allegations.
The U.S. Attorney General's office has been investigating the utility, looking into the millions of dollars it spent on political campaigns.
APS has also been criticized for shutting off customers' power during summer heatwaves for non-payment, leading to at least two heat-related deaths.
"It's arrogant for them to be coming on the heels of all of those things and asking people for another $184 million.. they have the highest utility bills of any utility in the state of Arizona," said consumer advocate Stacey Champion.
Champion took legal action against the utility after the last rate hike and is mounting a campaign against this new rate hike request. She's hopeful more consumers will also take action.
"And that his current commission will help stop the blatant APS greed," she said.
APS has yet to announce dates for the next step in the process. It will hold rate case hearings, and at least eight APS officials are expected to testify as to why the rate increase is needed at this time.
If the ACC votes to allow APS to increase rates, customers would see it on their bills starting in December 2020.
Stacey Champion's petition: No APS Rate Hike - Stop the APS Greed