Some customers may see power bills decrease after Arizona Corporation Commission votes to cut APS' revenue

Most Arizona Public Service customers will see a small decrease in their bills after state regulators voted on the company's rates.

On Nov. 2, the Arizona Corporation Commission gave final approval to a $119 million cut to APS' revenue after looking at data that confirmed most customers would see their monthly bills reduced.

Customers may start seeing changes to their bills in December, but the company said it would take several months to adjust the new on-peak hours on time-of-use energy plans. The reduced on-peak window from 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. to 4 .pm. -  7 p.m. doesn't go into effect until sometime in 2022. APS will be communicating directly with customers as that change nears.

APS responded to the decision, saying they will sue if the cuts are too severe.

"Our most important responsibility is to our customers, who depend on APS for the energy infrastructure that will power Arizona’s prosperity far into the future. Today’s short-sighted decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission ignores that crucial responsibility. Though customers will see some near-term benefits, the overall outcome will raise costs for customers in the long run and put our state’s economic future at risk – leaving us no choice but to take legal action."

Statements on the APS rate case

"With the Commission’s vote on the APS rate case, the vast majority of APS ratepayers are not expected to experience an increase, and may even see a decrease, on their monthly electric bill. Customers also now have an opportunity to further reduce their electric bills through a more manageable time-of-use plan and a super-off peak rate for electric vehicle charging. By reducing the utility’s return on equity from 10% to 8.70% and disallowing ~$215 million for cost recovery due to the utility’s "planning imprudence" sought for pollution controls on the Four Corners Power Plant, the Commission has shifted the balance of power from shareholders to APS ratepayers."

- Diane Brown, Executive Director of Arizona PIRG [Public Interest Research Group] Education Fund

"AARP Arizona is thrilled the Arizona Corporation Commission adopted our recommendations in the APS rate case order issued today. AARP Arizona has been focused on the issues surrounding the previous rate case, which was issued in 2017. AARP Arizona felt strongly enough during those proceedings to be one of only two groups to refuse to sign on to the settlement agreement. With today’s decision, AARP has been vindicated in our decision, and glad to know that then and now we will always fight for the 50+."

-Dana Kennedy, State Director for AARP Arizona

Public input was sought at ACC meeting on proposed APS rate hike

Back on Oct. 4, the ACC held an open, three-day virtual meeting so Arizona Public Service customers could weigh in on a proposed 5% rate increase, which would earn the utility company more than $169 million a year. That comes to about an additional $2 a month for each customer.

The proposed increase comes after APS raised its rates by about 6% in the spring.

The utility company says 2020's record-breaking hot summer temperatures are to blame for higher costs. APS said it had to buy more gas at higher prices for its power plants.

Two rate increases may sound excessive, but normally it would have all come at once in February. The commission had APS delay the increase and phase it in gradually because many customers still recovering from the pandemic would have trouble paying larger bills, especially heading into the summer.

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