News Release

Commissioner Thompson Statement on APS Rate Case

PHOENIX - Last Thursday the Arizona Corporation Commission voted on the Arizona Public Service (APS) rate case. The Commission adopted the Administrative Law Judge’s Recommended Order (ROO) and provided amendments that collectively rejected roughly $200 million dollars in ratepayer funded programs, tariffs, and various proposals initially suggested by APS and intervenors.

“After months of public hearings and testimony, consultation with staff, and roughly 10 hours of deliberation in committee, this was the toughest and most time-consuming rate case to date,” said Commissioner Thompson, reflecting on his first year in office. “Collectively, the Commission cut over $200 million in current and newly proposed ratepayer funded programs from the proposed APS rate case. We adopted amendments that provide greater ratepayer transparency and accountability for the utility, and we adopted reforms or eliminated existing programs that require ratepayer subsidization.”

Commissioner Thompson sponsored several pro-ratepayer amendments, including rejecting a proposal to move $59.4 million in total Energy Efficiency (EE) and DSM surcharges into the base rates. Commissioner Thompson argued that by moving the EE / DSM charges into the base rates, it would reduce ratepayer transparency and obscure a large surcharge APS customers pay each month to fund these programs. Earlier this year, Commissioner Thompson sponsored a motion to end the longstanding EE / DSM mandate for all utilities that has cost ratepayers nearly $1.1 Billion dollars in surcharges on their monthly utility bills to date.  

Commissioner Thompson also sponsored an amendment that ensures all APS marketing or advertising funded with ratepayer dollars must have a legitimate educational benefit to customers and cannot be used for self-promotional or “feel-good” pieces for the utility. The amendment will also ensure no ratepayer funds are used in APS advertising or sponsorships for things like sporting events or public events. 

Commissioner Thompson joined the majority of his fellow commissioners in rejecting an amendment that would have provided over $100 million in APS ratepayer funds for Coal Community Transition. He also supported an amendment that will require APS to pay the entire balance of their Board of Director fees using shareholder dollars, instead of splitting the cost with ratepayers.

Thompson successfully sponsored additional amendments, including a prohibition on APS expanding into customer-sited microgrids and thereby competing with the private sector. Commissioner Thompson argued utilities have an unfair advantage over the private market because of their ability to pursue projects funded by their ratepayers. His fellow Commissioners also supported his amendments that will allow greater adoption of large commercial customer energy battery storage, and an amendment that provides appropriate maintenance funding of existing fossil-fuel based generation and facilities like the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.

More information on rate case available here.


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