Setting the Record Straight

September 03, 2016

Earlier this week, two candidates for the Arizona Corporation Commission released a video promoting their campaigns.  Candidates for the ACC typically refrain from taking positions on cases they will be called upon to decide if they win, out of concern they will be perceived as prejudiced before they hear the facts.  These candidates have taken a different approach.  The video makes several claims about our pending rate review proposal that are misleading and in many cases factually wrong.
We’d like to set the record straight for APS customers who may be alarmed by these inaccurate claims.  The information provided below is taken from our actual proposal, which is publicly available and will be reviewed by the ACC as part of the rate review process.

Excerpt from campaign video:   Paying an electric bill shouldn’t force anyone to choose between basic necessities like medicine and food, or keeping their air conditioning on. Yet under a new pricing scheme being proposed to the Corporation Commission by Arizona Public Service and other utilities across the state, that is exactly what will happen. If approved, your basic electric bill will skyrocket.
Will rates really "skyrocket" under the APS proposal? 
Voters can judge if this claim is misleading.  The facts are that APS rates have increased by 1.6 percent on average over the last 20 years.  In this rate review, our first in five years, our proposal would increase residential rates by just under 8 percent.  The average residential customer bill would increase by $11 per month.  
Would the APS proposal really make customers choose between electricity and necessities like medicine and food? 
Again, voters can decide if this is a scare tactic.  The facts are that as part of our rate proposal, we have included a choice of plans to help APS customers better control the costs of their electricity.  We also recognize that not all customers have shared in Arizona's economic recovery, which is why we have proposed a special rate for customers with lower usage and a significant increase in assistance for limited-income customers
Excerpt from campaign video: To make matters worse, a new fee of up to $265 per month would be tacked on top of that.
Is the “new fee” described in the video really new, or even a fee? 
No.  Customer rates that include a demand component are not new; they've been around since 1981 and more than 120,000 customers are already on them, often saving money.
Are they "tacked on top" of existing rates?
No.  When customers go on a demand rate, they pay less for each kilowatt-hour of electricity they use.  Most customers switching to a demand rate would see little difference in their monthly bills, even if they do not take advantage of the additional opportunities to save they create. 
If most customers would see little difference in their bill, where did the $265 figure come from?
That figure has no factual basis in our proposal.