By Ryan Randazzo || Arizona Republic
Arizona utility regulators said Tuesday they would talk with the state’s biggest electric company about possibly raising customer rates after a court said the regulators had improperly slashed the company’s profitability.
Arizona Public Service Co. partially won a lawsuit earlier this month challenging the Corporation Commission’s 2021 decision that cut company profits.
The Arizona Court of Appeals vacated two portions of that decision in their March 8 order. One part said the commission had to allow APS to charge customers for upgrades it made to a coal plant. The other said regulators reduced APS profitability just a little too much.
It is unclear how much customer bills could increase if the regulators comply with the decision, or when and if that will happen. The directive from the elected regulators was not to appeal the decision, but that still could occur.
Following the order, commissioners on Tuesday simply directed their legal department to “sit down with APS to discuss the ruling of the Appeals Court,” as it was phrased in an order from Chairman Jim O’Connor.
One portion of the court decision states that APS can charge customers for about $216 million in upgrades it made to the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, New Mexico. APS has about 1 million customers. If those costs were spread evenly among them, it would cost about $216 each, though business customers typically shoulder a much higher cost than residential customers because they use more electricity.
APS didn’t have much to say about the court’s decision.