by Cole Lauterbach
Arizona utility regulators are moving forward with new limitations regarding how power company APS must do business, something the utility said could land the panel in court.
The Arizona Corporation Commission approved several preliminary changes Wednesday. Most were voted through with expressed opposition from the power company.
Commissioners approved a narrowing of the utility’s “on peak” hours to 4 to 7 p.m. The window is where customers who elect to be charged in such a way pay more for their energy consumption. It is currently from 3 to 8 p.m.
The change was opposed by Commissioner Justin Olson because of the increase in the rate that was included in the amendment that will lead to higher bill’s for many customers.
Commissioners also eliminated a fee for solar panel users called the “grid access fee” that’s been imposed since 2017. The fee, according to APS rate information, is 93 cents per kilowatt hour. That amounts to just more than $55 per year for a home with a 5 kW system.
ACC earlier had approved a reduction of how much APS could earn in profits, lowering it to 8.7% from the 10% the utility requested.
The panel planned to allow for third-party utility providers to offer services but the proposal was met with warnings from AARP and other consumer watchdogs that alternative energy providers have a poor reputation for misleading customers into higher bills.
APS CEO Jeffrey Guldner wrote the commission before Wednesday’s meeting, saying the changes under consideration were done with little cooperation from the regulators.
If commissioners decided to move forward, Guldner said, “APS is prepared to take immediate legal action – to the Arizona Supreme Court if necessary – to protect the interests of Arizona businesses and customers, to enforce the regulatory compact that has supported Arizona for more than 100 years, and to provide certainty of the prudence standard that applies to our investments.”
Commissioners are scheduled to meet again Nov. 2 to finalize their changes.
– – –
Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.