Frequently Asked Questions
|Where are the Arizona Corporation Commission offices located?|
|The Arizona Corporation Commission has two offices, the main office in Phoenix and a satellite office in Tucson. Both locations are staffed with consumer service professionals who can help you with answers to questions about regulated electric companies. We have put together a list of common questions and provided answers below.|
|Phoenix Office||1200 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Az 85007|
1-800-222-7000 (toll free)
|Tucson Office||400 West Congress Street, Tucson, Az 85701|
1-800-535-0148 (toll free)
|What companies does the Arizona Corporation Commission regulate?|
|The Arizona Corporation Commission is the regulatory authority with jurisdiction over private and investor owned utilities. Municipal systems ("City of") are regulated by the city or town council and do not fall under our jurisdiction. The Salt River Project is also outside our jurisdiction.|
|What is the minimal information that an electric company needs to show on my bill?|
|Your electric bills should include the following information:|
|1. Customer's name|
2. Service account number
3. Utility telephone number
4. Date of meter reading at the start of the billing period
5. Previous month's meter reading
6. Billed usage
7. Amount due and due date
8. Past due amount (if applicable)
9. Adjustment factor (if applicable)
10. Other approved tariff charges
|How can I find out what electric company serves a particular area?|
|Generally speaking, the service territory maps available on our main Electric page should be able to help you determine the incumbent local electric service provider for your area. If you are on the edge of two service territories, you will need to provide a legal description of your property to the Commission. You must have a legal description or address that indicates the township, range and section of the particular area before this question can be answered. Once you have the legal description, you can call the Commission's Consumer Services Section and we can help you learn more about the companies serving your area.|
|How can I establish service with an electric company?|
|Rules established by the Commission and embodied in the Arizona Administrative Code (see R14-2-203) outline the procedures necessary for you to establish, re-establish or have service connected by a electric company. These rules outline how you can obtain temporary service and defines information for new applicants, deposit requirements and grounds for refusal of service by the electric company.|
|What are all these charges on my bill?|
Basic Monthly Service Charge:The monthly minimum for providing service, even if you use little or no energy during the month.
Energy Usage:Kilowatt hours (kWh) are the units that measure your energy usage for the billing period. The charge per kWh covers the costs to purchase and deliver the energy to your site.
Meter Charge:A fixed monthly fee for providing and servicing your meter.
Meter Reading Charge:A fixed monthly fee to determine your energy use.
Environmental Surcharge:A measure mandated by the Arizona Corporation Commission requiring nearly all Arizona utilities to generate or buy a portion of their power from renewable energy sources. The surcharge is associated with the development of environmentally friendly sources of energy.
Purchased Power Adjuster:Determines rate adjustment in connection with increase or decrease in the price of purchased power. May also be called Purchased Fuel Adjustment or Wholesale Power Adjustment.
Competitive Transition Charge:A charge to cover costs for investments in power plants made under regulation. This charge is based on kWh or kW used.
Regulatory Assessment:This monthly amount is imposed on customers of state-regulated utilities to help fund the Arizona Corporation Commission and, in the case of investor-owned utilities, the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO).
System Benefits Charge or Public Benefits Charge:A monthly charge based on your kW or kWh usage to cover the cost of programs approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, including: low-income assistance, conservation, environmental improvements, renewable energy projects and nuclear power plant decommissioning.
|How can I find the company's approved rates and charges?|
|Commission rules require the company to make available, upon your request, a concise summary of the rate schedule for your particular type of service. They must provide this within 60 days of your request. The summary should reflect a monthly minimum or customer charge, the specific amount of usage included in the minimum charge and any rate adjustment factor(s) and the exact method of calculation. (See R14-2-204)|
|You may also wish to request, in writing, a concise statement of your actual consumption for each billing period during the prior 12 months.|
|How can I find out if my meter is accurate?|
|Contact your utility company. There are several ways to verify the accuracy of a meter. An electric meter can be used in Arizona only if it is the type approved by the American National Standards Institute code. To ensure that only accurate meters are used in the State of Arizona, the Commission:|
|Can the utility move or relocate my meter or service line without a specific request from me?|
|The company may have compelling reasons to move a service line, such as an ease of access, safety or deterioration of lines. The company generally pays the majority of the costs but you may be responsible for some costs associated with moving the lines on your side of the meter.|
|Can the electric company charge me for moving their electric meter?|
|Electric meters or service lines can be moved at your request but charges may apply. For example, if you are putting an addition on your home and your meter and/or service line needs to be moved, the company has a right to charge a fee for doing so. (See R 14-2-205B)|
|How long do I have to pay my bills?|
|Electric utility bills are due and payable when rendered. All bills for utility services are due and payable no later than 15 days from the date of the bill.|
|Are payment plans available?|
|Each utility may, prior to termination, offer to qualifying residential customers a deferred payment plan for the customer to retire unpaid bills for utility service.|
|Each deferred payment plan entered into by the utility and the customer shall provide that service will not be discontinued if:|
|When can a utility disconnect service?|
|There are certain conditions under which the utility can disconnect you. Rule R14-2-211C of the Arizona Administrative Code states that after proper notice, the utility company may disconnect your service if you are in violation of any of the utility's tariffs, or for reasons such as:|
|In addition, a utility company may disconnect service without notice for any of the following reasons:|
|What does the company need from me to start service?|
|Rule R14-2-203A of the Arizona Administrative Code states that the utility company may obtain specific minimum information from you prior to establishing new service. Here are some examples:|
|Do I have to give my social security number?|
You do not have to give your social security number to establish service. However, if the company is not able to retrieve sufficient credit information without your social security number, a deposit may be required.
|Can a company require a deposit?|
Yes, but not always. Deposits are not required if you meet certain conditions outlined in the Arizona Administrative Code Rule R14-2-203B. If you are unable to meet those conditions, a deposit may be required. Likewise, if you are delinquent in the payment of 3 or more bills with a 12-consecutive month period or have been disconnected during the last 12 months, the utility can require a deposit. See R14-2-203B for more information.
|Are deposit limits controlled?|
Yes. Rule R14-2-203B of the Arizona Administrative Code states that the amount of a residential customer's deposit shall not exceed two times your estimated average bill. Non-residential or business customer deposits shall not exceed two and one-half times the estimated average bill.
|Can a utility require a deposit from an established customer?|
Yes. The utility company may require you to post a deposit if you have been late paying your bill three or more times within a 12-consecutive month period or if you have been disconnected during the last 12 months. See R14-2-203B5.
|When is my deposit refunded?|
Your utility deposit will normally be refunded to you after 12 consecutive months of payments on time or when you discontinue service.
|Are their financial assistance programs?|
There are several local and statewide programs designed to help low-income individuals or people enduring a specific financial hardship. For more information, click here.
|Are there any programs that provide financial assistance on deposits?|
The Utility Repair Replacement and Deposit Program (URRD) provides financial assistance on utility deposits in crisis situations. Call the Arizona Department of Economic Security toll free on 1-800-582-5706 for information on eligibility requirements and the location of the social service agency nearest to you that can assist you in the application process.
|Can the company refuse service because of outstanding charges from a previous bill?|
Yes. The company has the right to refuse service if a balance is due on a previous account.
|Can the electric company refuse service because of an outstanding balance from a previous customer (for example, you are a new homeowner or a new tenant but the company shows a balance from the previous owner/tenant)?|
If you shared utility service with someone who is no longer there, you are still considered responsible for the charges. As long as you can prove that you were not living at that address, the company has to provide service. A deposit is usually required. (See R14-2-210)
|Am I responsible for charges if the company billed me in error, i.e. they charge me for the electric I used and they are back billing me?|
Yes, the Commission rules recognize that billing problems sometimes occur. For this reason, utilities have up to three months to bill for legitimate services received but not properly billed. (See Rule R14-2-210E)
|Can I file a complaint against an electric company?|
|How are electric rates set?|
The Arizona Corporation Commission sets rates that provide the company a fair rate of return while balancing the needs of ratepayers. Rate cases are lengthy processes that begin with a company's application stating what they would like the new rate to be along with supporting testimony as to why the increase is justified. Then the Commission staff and other interested parties begin examining and auditing all of the costs associated with providing service in Arizona. Rate cases typically involve months of sworn testimony, audits and examinations to ensure the basis for the rate is legal and justified. Ultimately, the Commissioners vote on the rates in public Open Meetings.
|We were notified that our electric company wants to change their rates. How can I have input on this?|
|You can always call the Arizona Corporation Commission and speak with a representative of our Consumer Services Section to find out more information about the electric company's proposed rate increase. Your comments become part of the data that the Commissioners review prior to making their decision. Our staff can also assist you or your community with procedures for filing petitions, arranging for a public comment session or providing information on becoming an official party to the case (called "intervention").|
|Can I choose another electric service provider?|
|Yes and no. If you are a customer of Tucson Electric Power, Arizona Public Service, Ajo Improvement Authority or Navopache Electric Cooperative, competition is allowed in your area. Those service areas have been opened for competition, along with Salt River Project's territory (the ACC does not regulate the Salt River Project). But there's more to the equation than just opening a territory to competition.|
|Once you open an area, then you have to wait for alternative providers to state that they wish to serve customers in that area. Although the Arizona Corporation Commission has granted certificates to several providers, none of these providers are offering competitive residential or small commercial service in Arizona yet. So for all practical purposes, consumers do not yet have a choice of providers.|
Under the old regulatory regime, a company got a certificate to serve any and all customers within a certain geographic area. Now, with the advent of electric competition, those geographic boundaries are no longer the sole determining factor of what company can serve customers.
|Did California's deregulation problems change anything here?|
|Yes. Because the Arizona Corporation Commission has a duty to balance the needs of ratepayers with the needs of the utilities serving the state, the Commission is taking another look at electric competition.|
|There are several aspects being examined through an open, collaborative process. Consumer groups, industry representatives and the Commissioners are working to ensure that utility customers do not experience problems during the transition to competition. The goal is to avoid any of the pricing, structure or power supply problems that our neighbors to the west experienced. Several important changes may be made before all is said and done. Keep watching this area for updates.|