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Regulators close complaint against APS, leave utility rates unchanged for now

Posted by   /  July 11, 2019  /  No Comments

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Activist Stacey Champion said she was not surprised by the outcome and was motivated to continue her work to challenge the state’s biggest utility./YouTube

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic 

Utility regulators on Wednesday ended a challenge to the controversial rate hike Arizona Public Service Co. enacted in 2017 that drew thousands of customer complaints and a petition for a reconsideration.

That means APS rates are not changing.

Related: Regulators approve massive utility rate hikes for Ajo residents

Rather than reverse the rate hike, as customer and activist Stacey Champion had asked, Arizona Corporation Commission members said they will address APS rates in a new case they ordered the utility to file by Oct. 31.

Commissioners voted 4-1 on the issue, with Democrat Sandra Kennedy the lone vote against closing the case.

“Let me say thank you, Ms. Champion, for your tenacity and your voice,” Kennedy said. “There aren’t a lot of individuals out there who would have taken on this giant the way you have.”

Kennedy said she was disappointed in the way the case proceeded, and that commissioners didn’t get enough options to protect utility customers.

“I feel like my hands have been shackled, and it’s not a good feeling,” Kennedy said.

The other four commissioners said they were interested in ensuring APS rates are fair to customers but that reversing the rate hike presented legal issues.

“I did not support the APS current rates,” Chairman Robert Burns said. “I voted no in that APS rate case. I believed APS rates were not just, fair and reasonable. However, I did not prevail. I was outvoted. I challenged the commissioners’ decision in court and so far have not prevailed there, either.

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