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Electric Rate Increase Decision Slated for Next Week

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Under a new agreement, most Arizonans would see at least a $12 monthly increase to their electricity bill. (Jamie Beverly/Flickr)
Under a new agreement, most Arizonans would see at least a $12 monthly increase to their electricity bill. (Jamie Beverly/Flickr)
August 9, 2017

PHOENIX - Arizonans have a chance to put in their two cents on Arizona Public Service's proposed rate-hike request for electricity before utility regulators decide on it next week.

If approved, customers would see an increase of $6 in their electric charges, and another $6 or more added to the basic monthly services charge. At the end of July, a regulatory judge recommended the Arizona Corporation Commission approve the increase, but Diane Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, said the increase will put the squeeze on many households.

"We believe it is unfair to charge Arizonans a higher mandatory monthly service charge," she said, "instead of charging Arizonans primarily based on the amount of electricity they use."

The ACC will hold a public meeting at 8 a.m. Tuesday on whether to accept, modify or reject the APS agreement. Public comments will be taken at the meeting at the ACC building in Phoenix. The public also can email comments to the ACC or call the commission chairman before the meeting.

Under the agreement, Brown said, new utility customers also would be locked into the plans.

"If approved by the commission, new customers would be subject to a default rate plan for the first 90 days," she said, "and the ability for them to choose a plan that makes the most sense for them would be taken away."

A number of groups have filed objections to the APS agreement, including the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and AARP Arizona. The groups oppose the basic service charge increase and default rate plan for new customers, as well as time-of-use plans that charge more during a five-hour "peak demand" window. They say three hours would be much more manageable.

The judge's recommendation and objections to the proposal are online at edocket.azcc.gov.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - AZ