Valley woman taking on power companies' disconnection rules for customers

A valley woman is taking on the Arizona Corporation Commission over policies about utility companies disconnecting customers who don't pay.

At the Commission's office, a colorful and poignant message is planted in their front lawn by Stacey Champion, a consumer advocate who wants them to hear her message loud and clear.

"Each one of these flags represents an indoor heat death in Maricopa County from 2010 to 2020. There were nearly 500 indoor heat deaths."

Champion was not only planting flags Monday morning, but she also called in to publicly comment as the Commission discussed final rules for power disconnection for customers. The Commission last week unanimously voted to ban power disconnects during hot summer months from June 1 to Oct. 15.

Champion says that's not enough.

"As we can see from the data, already from this year and years prior, folks are dying in April and May indoors as well. So these rules need to have a temperature threshold that is data-driven. If we don't have AC, it is life or death," Champion said.

Arizona Public Service (APS) says it takes heat risks very seriously and had voluntarily stopped residential disconnections in May. The utility company also said, "APS will continue engaging with our regulators and the many stakeholders committed to building a broad safety net for Arizonans most vulnerable to our state's high temperatures."

There is another opportunity for public comment on Thursday, July 1. More information can be found on the Arizona Corporation Commission's website.

More Arizona news

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news:

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 10 News app. Download for Apple iOS or Android.