APS wants a rehearing in contentious rate case that cut company’s profitability

By Ryan Randazzo/The Arizona Republic

Arizona’s largest electric company has asked for a do-over in its latest rate case, in which state regulators slashed the company’s profitability and prevented it from charging customers millions of dollars for upgrades at a New Mexico coal plant.

The years-long rate case for Arizona Public Service Co. yielded a final decision earlier this month that reduced its annual base revenue by about $119 million and will result in a slight decrease for most customers in the base rates they pay the utility.

APS will see little change in total revenue because of nearly automatic “adjustors” to rates that charge for items like power plant fuel, which are going up.

But the utility’s CEO said the company would have no alternative but to sue over the decision because it was too detrimental to its financial security. APS likely needs to exhaust all administrative appeals, such as asking for a rehearing, before filing such a lawsuit.

Much of APS’ focus in the 114-page application for a rehearing filed Wednesday is on the Corporation Commission’s decision not to let the company recover about a half-billion dollars it spent on a New Mexico coal plant that now is scheduled to retire early.

The commission let APS charge for some of those costs but said it can’t charge customers for about $216 million of the cost because of “imprudence” by the company.

APS says that is unlawful.

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