skip to main content

Sunday, June 4, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

A Wisconsin group criticizes two of its members of Congress, a new report says the Phoenix area cannot meet its groundwater demands, and Nevada's sporting community sends its priorities to the governor.

play newscast audioPlay

The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Consumer Groups Seek Help for Jobless AZ Utility Customers

play audio
Play

Tuesday, May 5, 2020   

PHOENIX -- Arizona consumer groups want regulated power utilities to use cost savings from lower power demand during the pandemic to provide emergency aid to ratepayers.

The coalition is asking the Arizona Corporation Commission to prevent the state's largest private power utilities from using funds already earmarked for future energy-efficiency programs to pay for a proposed emergency customer relief package.

Diane Brown, executive director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, said that only would provide short-term benefits that could hurt ratepayers in the future.

"As we hit the hot summer months and a stay-at-home or modified stay-at-home order is in place, it is likely commercial electricity demand will drop, but residential electricity demand will increase," Brown said.

Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric are projected to save millions of dollars in operating costs due to lower demand. APS said they will discuss a variety of plan options with the commission at Tuesday's meeting. TEC did not respond to a request for comment.

Brown said it's important for state regulators to require the utilities to report net changes in their cost structure caused by lower demand during the COVID-19 crisis.

"The commission should ensure that APS and TEP have considered options such as cost savings due to a reduction in operating and fuel costs," she said.
s
The Arizona Department of Economic Security said more than 400,000 workers have applied for unemployment assistance since the middle of March. More than half of them have had their claims rejected or are still waiting for a response. Brown said the need for help is growing.

"The commission is expected to vote on providing short-term relief this week," she said. "And we hope they will commit to voting on longer-term relief for electric bills through increased energy efficiency next month."

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund, along with coalition partners Building Performance Association and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, are encouraging unregulated public and co-op utilities across the state to also provide emergency relief to sturggling ratepayers.


Disclosure: Arizona PIRG Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Energy Policy, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Almost all departments in Connecticut schools saw shortages in 2022, following a long-standing national trend. A 2022 American Federation of Teachers report found before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 300,000 teachers were leaving the profession each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

As the school year ends, Connecticut's teacher shortage seems to have only worsened. In March, school districts across the state reported having 2,60…


Social Issues

play sound

A Muslim rights group is taking the Kent County Sheriff's Office to court for forcing a Michigan woman to remove her hijab for a booking photo…

Social Issues

play sound

A rally was held in Salem Thursday to urge passage of a bill to provide food assistance to Oregonians regardless of their immigration status…


Pennsylvanians must register to vote by Oct. 23 to be eligible to vote in the general election on Nov. 7. (Vesperstock/AdobeStock)

Social Issues

play sound

The Keystone State's general election is less than six months away and a nonpartisan, grassroots organization is already getting the word out to …

Social Issues

play sound

This week's debt ceiling deal saw federal policymakers compromise on budget-related matters, but a new awareness campaign from a Wisconsin grassroots …

A 2019 report from the New York State Comptroller's Office found almost 85% of green jobs were in increased demand. A 2022 report found there are 35,700 workers in New Jersey's green economy. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Offshore wind in New York and New Jersey is becoming a large contributor to job growth. New York's offshore wind investments are slated to create …

Social Issues

play sound

Hoosiers could play a pivotal role in pushing back against a surge of hate and violence against Jews in America. Nearly two-thirds of all …

Environment

play sound

The Nevada hunting and fishing community is sharing its top 10 conservation priorities for 2023 with Gov. Joe Lombardo's office, as they seek to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021