A decision was made last week regarding Arizona Public Service’s request for its first rate hike in five years.
But many Sedona residents are still waiting to see if they will be paying an additional monthly fee.
The Arizona Corporation Commission approved an agreement to resolve APS’ rate review. Under the approved agreement, the typical monthly bill for residential customers will increase 4.5 percent, or about $6 per month. APS originally requested a revenue increase of 7.96 percent, or about $11 per month.
The ACC approved the previously-established agreement with modifications, but the changes do not affect the overall economic terms of the agreement. The rate adjustment took effect Saturday, Aug. 19.
“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,” Don Brandt, APS chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Judge Teena Jibilian issued a 427-page recommendation to the ACC on the case.
“The rates, terms and conditions of the settlement agreement are just, fair and reasonable and in the public interest, and should be adopted as set forth in the settlement agreement,” Jibilian wrote.
The city of Sedona was one of more than two dozen stakeholders that intervened on behalf of its citizens. It did so not only in regard to the proposed rate hike but fees for those residents who opted out of having their analog meters replaced with a smart meter.
However, Jibilian determined that discussion regarding smart meter fees should take place at a separate meeting. That date has yet to be determined.
Under the original proposed agreement, those who now choose to replace their smart meter with an analog will be charged a one-time conversion fee of $50. Those who have already done so will not be charged that fee. However, those who do have analog meters will be charged a $5 monthly meter-reading fee.
Originally, APS had requested a $15 monthly fee. Sedona City Attorney Robert Pickels said he’s not sure why smart meters were separated from the rate case.
“My guess is that because the opt-out fees was a prominent and somewhat controversial issue during the proceedings, that the administrative law judge thought it warranted special attention in the overall decision,” he said. “If there was some hidden motive behind separating the issues, I’m not aware of it.”