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APS gets approval, will hike monthly power bills in Phoenix area

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Public Service customers will soon be paying more to keep the lights on every month after the state corporation commission approved a price hike on Tuesday.

The hike will raise the power bills about $6 per month for the average homeowner. The bigger bills could start coming in as soon as next month.

“Arizona’s energy consumers are the clear winners here because this agreement enables investment in a smarter, cleaner energy infrastructure, gives customers more choice and control through new rate options, and continues Arizona’s solar leadership,” APS President, Chairman and CEO Don Brandt said in a release.

The hike was approved by a 4-1 vote.

APS said the hike will 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 3-8 p.m.

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

APS also chose to allow existing solar customers to keep their net-metering rates for the next 20 years after the protest.

Net metering is the practice of APS buying solar customers’ excess energy at market rates. In theory, the practice keeps costs down for the solar user. APS had wanted to either cut net metering or have solar customers pay more for using grid energy.

The company also dropped a plan to charge customers more during peak energy-use periods.

However, the hike was met by opponents who spoke before the vote.

“My congregation has been an APS customer for as long as anybody can remember,” Community Christian Church pastor Doug Bland said. “I want to express my opposition to the APS rate settlement.”

Bland said his congregation would “feel the pinch” because of the rate increase.

The company serves 1.2 million residential and commercial customers.

KTAR News’ Kathy Cline and Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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