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Time is running out to change your APS rate plan

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Public Service - APS)

As most customers who get electric power through Arizona Public Service already know, May 1 is a deadline day. If they haven’t already switched to a new rate plan, the utility will pick a plan for them.

According to APS, however, 70 percent of the utility’s 1.2 million customers have already been switched to new plans since rate changes were announced last August. According to Jill Hanks, media representative for APS, some customers were notified by mail that they only had 30 days to pick a plan or face auto-migration and that led them to switch earlier.

“It’s actually been a rolling deadline because we can’t just hit a button and switch all those customers on the same day,” Hanks said.

If you haven’t made a change and you’re still debating what to do, you might want to find a paper or electronic copy of your latest bill. You can use the APS service plan’s “plan comparison tool.” You may have to register your residence first. But once you call up your account, you can analyze the six new plans available and see how – based on previous bills – that your future bills may increase.

For those who previously had the old noon to seven plan, a popular option in the past, the new Saver Choice seems like the best option. Check out the links below for more details.

Those in small homes who use a lot less energy than other APS customers have two choices: Lite Choice for homes under 600 kWh a month or less or the premier choice for those using 999 kWh a month or less. Under these plans, it doesn’t matter what time you use electricity. Rates are the same for every hour of use.

Two other plans have much larger savings during off-peak hours – Saver Choice Plus and Saver Choice Max. But these plans also have punishing demand charges that will be imposed if you slip up and use too much electricity at the wrong time. The only way to avoid that is adding a demand computer to your electric panel, something you might be interested in doing at this point. Otherwise you “become” the computer. You might find yourself running around constantly to turn off the dryer or oven or AC during peak cost hours.

Here are some more tips about the APS plans.

– Get off a monthly budget pay plan, if that’s what you have done in the past. Under these plans, customers pay the same amount each month no matter how much electricity they use all year. But these plans make it much harder to figure out how to use less electricity.

– Supercooling may be more difficult to do now. Some years ago, we started telling homeowners about a special way to cut down AC bills in summer. The idea was to dramatically supercool your homes at the “cheaper” rate periods during the day. Then when the expensive on-peak hours arrived, you would raise the thermostat to the warmest level you could stand in summer – maybe 78 or 79. By then, your house would be so cool, your air conditioner didn’t come back on for hours and hours. All that might not work now. Those “cheaper” off-peak rates don’t seem as low under the new plans. After a month or two this summer, however, you will have a better idea about scheduling cooling in your home.

– It’s hard to know what the rate changes will do to your monthly bill. APS estimates that the average home will see a $6 a month increase. However, the utility is also passing on to customers a share of the money it’s getting in federal corporate tax cuts as a result of the recently passed tax reform bill. The reduction amounts to about $5.40 on the average bill.

– If you switch plans and don’t like your new plan, you can pick a new option later. However, it might take a while to get switched to the new plan.

For more homeowner advice, DIY tips and videos, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at RosieontheHouse.com.

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

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