Friday, October 7, 2022


Following a settlement with tribes, SD phases In voting-access reforms; older voters: formidable factor in Maine gubernatorial race; walking: a simple way to boost heart health.


Biden makes a major move on marijuana laws; the U.S. and its allies begin exercises amid North Korean threats; and Generation Z says it's paying close attention to the 2022 midterms.


Rural residents are more vulnerable to a winter wave of COVID-19, branding could be key for rural communities attracting newcomers, and the Lummi Nation's totem pole made it from Washington state to D.C.

Consumer Groups Seek Help for Jobless AZ Utility Customers


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.
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
In a recent lawsuit, a federal judge found nearly 10 examples in which the State of South Dakota had made it difficult for Native Americans to register to vote. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

This election season, South Dakota is starting to implement voting-access reforms in light of a recent settlement with Native American tribes…

Social Issues

The U.S. Postal Service is hiring 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the surge in end-of-year holiday letters and packages for facilities in Michigan …

Social Issues

The roughly 2.4 million Ohioans who rely on Social Security income are expected to get a big boost in benefits, but advocates for the program are …


Ahead of revised methane regulations expected from the federal government, a new study shows that gas flaring in oil-producing states such as Texas …

According to a 2021 study by the American Heart Association, people who take at least 7,000 steps a day have a 50% to 70% lower risk of dying than those who take fewer daily steps. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Even for Virginians who think they're too busy to exercise, experts say there's one surefire way to squeeze in a modest workout: walking. Although …

Social Issues

Groups challenging the criminal consequences for failing to pay rent in Arkansas say they'll take another run at it, perhaps as a class-action …

Social Issues

Wisconsin is one of 33 states allowing Social Security benefits to be extended to teachers. As the future of the program is debated, a retired …


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