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Arizona board will review APS rate hikes after petition filed

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission will review a recently approved rate hike for APS customers after a petition was filed Wednesday.

The online petition has nearly 500 signatures and said the rate hike will hurt families.

“The difference of $50 or $100 extra a month makes a really, really big difference to people as to whether or not they can buy more groceries or do they need to make the choice to pay their energy bill,” Stacey Champion, the Phoenix resident who began the petition, said.

The hike will raise the power bills about $6 per month for the average homeowner.

Champion also said she objected to the on-peak hours switch that was accepted as part of the hike and disliked that APS gave financial contributions to several of the commissioners’ political campaigns.

“I hope the Arizona Corporation Commission can actually start putting the best interests of the people before utility monopolies at the the core of the work that they do,” she said.

The fate of the rate hike will be determined in a relatively short time span. After the commission creates a case and informs APS, the utility will have 20 days to respond.

After that, a judge is assigned to the case and a procedural conference will be set.

APS did not have anyone available to make a comment, though one was expected at a later date.

The hike was approved by a 4-1 vote in August.

At the time, APS said the hike would allow for millions in solar investment for low- to moderate-income customers, offer more energy efficiency programs and add four more off-peak holidays.

Under the new plan, the on-peak power hours will move from noon to 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

APS had originally proposed an 8 percent increase in price, but that was lowered to 4.5 percent after people protested.

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

The utility serves 1.2 million residential and commercial customers.

KTAR News’ Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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