APS customers urge judge to reconsider $95 million rate hike

By Ryan Randazzo, | Arizona Republic

Customers frustrated by last year’s rate hike from Arizona Public Service Co. kicked off a three-day hearing Tuesday with passionate pleas for a judge to order a reconsideration of the rates they said push people deeper into poverty.

APS officials coolly responded that the $95 million rate hike imposed on the company’s 1.1 million customers is exactly what regulators intended and the case should be dismissed.

The case is unusual in that the utility’s rates are being challenged by a citizen activist who raised money for her lawyer online, starting with a petition on Change.org.

Now the state’s biggest utility — and a political heavyweight — is being forced to defend its prices as well as the profits of its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp, against a groundswell of opposition from everyday customers.

APS described the rate increase last year as a 4.5 percent hike that would add an average of $6 a month to residential customer bills. But thousands of customers have signed the petition started by Stacey Champion of Phoenix, saying their bills are notably higher than that.


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September 2018