APS says rate hike vital to keep homes in Phoenix powered, recover infrastructure costs

Aug 4, 2023, 1:00 PM

solar panels working to power the grid...

(Arizona Public Service Photo)

(Arizona Public Service Photo)

PHOENIX — As a rate increase for Arizona Public Service customers is on the horizon, the president of the company said it is necessary to recover infrastructure costs and to continue powering Phoenix homes.

Regaining infrastructure costs, coupled with flat rates from 2018-22, prompted a proposed rate increase, APS President Ted Geisler told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday. The rates would go into effect by Dec. 1 if approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

“This rate request is all about recovering costs for infrastructure that’s been in service for the last few years,” Geisler said.

“It was literally the infrastructure necessary to keep the lights on and the air conditioners running this summer.”

The energy infrastructure for the state’s largest public utility withstood extreme temperatures this summer, breaking an all-time power demand record in mid-July. Phoenix was under an excessive heat wave warning that saw 31 days of high temperatures above 110 degrees last month.

Earlier this year, Geisler said a proposed monthly base rate hike of at least 23% is necessary, but most customers wouldn’t see that large of an increase.

He said on Friday that the average customer would see an average rate increase of 11.3%.

“At some point, we got to begin to recover those (infrastructure) costs so we can continue to invest in the grid and make sure that just like we got through this summer with reliable service, we can do that next summer and the summer thereafter,” Geisler said.

The final public hearing on increased rates is on Thursday.

Will the rate hike pass through the Arizona Corporation Commission?

“We’re in the middle of the process. It’s a formal proceeding where we actually present all of the investments that we’ve made to maintain reliability for our customers to an administrative law judge. Ultimately, the Corporation Commission decides for us,” Geisler said.

However, he noted that all the investments are already in use.

“So our job is to make sure that we continue to serve reliably, we demonstrate the infrastructure that it takes to do that and then we ultimately get fair recovery of those costs so we can continue to invest in Arizona’s energy infrastructure,” he said.

Struggling and need help? APS has options available

Geisler said about $60 million annually goes toward crisis bills, energy support programs and connecting customers with grants.

“But I got to tell you, we can’t help our customers unless they let us know that they need help,” he said.

Customers can contact the utility service by phone at 800-240-2014 or online for financial assistance, but Geisler said two things can be done at home that can also help alleviate wallets.

“One is, for every degree that you increase your thermostat, it’s about 2-3% in savings right off the bat,” Geisler said.

“But the second is, we offer customers a discount if they save a little bit of energy use during 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.”

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APS says rate hike vital to keep homes in Phoenix powered, recover infrastructure costs