By now, you’ve probably heard that Arizona Public Service, better known as APS, is raising your electrical rates.
So what are the changes all about and what can you do about them?
All time-of-use plans are changing
For years, we always recommended that most homeowners get on the APS time-of-use plan that charged higher rates (on-peak prices) only from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
The goal on this plan was to use electricity more during the hours when rates were low (off-peak prices), while avoiding the peak charged.
But now the hours for the lower off-peak pricing have changed.
The new APS plan most comparable to the old noon to 7 plan is Saver Choice, which has higher rates 3-8 p.m. That might sound good because the off-peak hours are increasing, but that new on-peak hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. is probably when more of your family is home and you use more electricity.
As usual, APS will charge the lower off-peak rates on weekends and holidays.
You have to pick a new plan
If you had the noon to 7 p.m. plan previously, Saver Choice seems the most similar to your previous plan.
Almost no one would benefit from the basic standard plans designed for those in very small homes.
Other options include Saver Choice Plus and Saver Choice Max. These plans have a demand-based cost but they also charge less per kilowatt hour. Demand is free during off-peak times, so if you can manage your demand for power during on-peak times, you could have a much lower kWh cost on- and off-peak.
Some homeowners have demand computers put on their electrical panel to manage power use so they can use these plans.
There’s a deadline and your bill will go up
As of Aug. 19, everyone was switched to a transitional plan with slightly higher rates, but you have until May 1, 2018, to pick a new plan. If you do not choose by then, APS will put you on the rate they think is best for you.
If you move to the new Saver Choice plan by May 1, your summer rates will be 24.314 cents on-peak and 10.873 cents off-peak. That compares with 24.477 cents per kWh on-peak and 6.118 cents per kWh off-peak on your old noon to 7 p.m. plan.
That’s a huge percentage jump in the price of off-peak power and could cause many monthly bills to jump considerably.
Think carefully about which plan you want and how it will suit your lifestyle. You can also pick a plan and try it for a while. If you don’t like it, you can change once.
After that final choice, you have to stay on a plan for at least a year before changing again.
Note: Although APS is the largest utility in Arizona, the changes don’t affect residents in the Salt River Project and many other smaller utilities, although their rates have risen as well recently.
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