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Regulators Order Low 'Super Off-Peak' Rates for APS Customers

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Monday, December 20, 2021   

Arizona Public Service (APS) power customers could significantly lower their electric bills this winter, if they get the timing right.

A ruling earlier this year by the Arizona Corporation Commission obliges APS to, under some plans, charge lower rates during the middle of the day, when power demand is the least.

Customers can save by running heavy-use appliances like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and pool pumps during the "Super Off-Peak" rates ordered by regulators.

Abhay Padgaonkar, a self-described "citizen activist" and management consultant at Innovative Solutions, monitors consumer issues at the Corporation Commission.

"Depending on the rate plan, you could save anywhere from 38% to as much as 70% by shifting your usage to between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m," Padgaonkar pointed out. "But that's only in the six winter-month billing cycle, from November to April."

He said about two-thirds of APS's 2.7 million Arizona customers are on the plan with the lower rates. It's part of a commission decree in November reducing the company's 2022 revenues by $120 million dollars. APS said it plans an appeal.

Padgaonkar noted APS has done little to inform customers about the rate plan, and he believes the commission should have also required a public information campaign. Another part of the ruling forced APS to rework its customer guide for choosing a rate plan. Regulators said the old guide was confusing and at times, inaccurate.

"If it was 'R3,' that doesn't tell you anything," Padgaonkar asserted. "But now, the commission has forced them to make them very descriptive. It'll say, 'Weekdays, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.' So, if you have 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., that means you're on a 'Time-of-Use' plan."

Padgaonkar added another change coming to the rate structure will to move the power "window" later next year, to 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., to make it more convenient for customers who work during the day.

"If you're on a Time-of-Use plan, [for] six months of winter, the rate is only 3.2 cents," Padgaonkar concluded. "It doesn't get any cheaper than that, a 38% to 70% discount."

For more information on how to use the Super Off-Peak rates, there is a revised consumer guide to choosing the proper APS rate plan, and a guide to power-use specifications for household appliances.


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