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Arizona commissioner looking into attempt to rework APS rate hikes

(Public Domain Photo)
LISTEN: Bob Burns, Arizona Corporation Commissioner

PHOENIX — An Arizona commissioner said Wednesday that he was researching a way to eliminate or reduce electric rate hikes for APS customers.

Bob Burns, one of five people who make up the Arizona Corporation Commission, said the group may be forced to reconsider the hikes — which would cost people about $6 extra per month — if it receives enough public feedback.

“The commission is basically ordered by law to review that request,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes.

“What that would possibly mean is that the commission would meet … and they would have a vote on whether or not to redo the rate request that the company had requested.”

Burns said it may take as little as 25 signatures or letters from affected people to at least send the matter back to the commission, but added that he was still researching the issue.

The hike means additional $94 million in revenue for APS, which has seen its stock jump 50 percent the past two years.

As a regulated monopoly, Arizona Public Service is allowed a fair rate of return on its capital costs. Burns noted that when the utility provided its costs and they were reviewed by the commission staff and the panel’s ratepayer advocate, both came out with recommendation for no increase or a reduction.

Burns also said he was off-put by APS’ heavy spending on political campaigns, which was revealed after he subpoenaed the company.

“I wanted information from the 2014 election cycle because APS was perceived to have spent $3.2 million in the election for two seats on the commission,” he said. “I think that needs to be public.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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