Increase in APS fees has many questioning point of saving energy
An increase in fees from Arizona Public Service has many residents upset.
APS has said that, due to customers conserving energy, they now need to raise fees in order to cover fixed costs as sales drop.
The announcement came as a surprise to many residents, who noted that APS has been encouraging steps to conserve power.
According to an insert included with the APS bills, “(b)ecause more customers are installing renewable energy systems such as solar and wind, and energy efficient measures such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and refrigerator recycling, APS is selling less electricity, but fixed costs remain. APS is allowed to implement a new charge to recover a portion of the fixed costs.”
As counter-intuitive as it seems, reducing energy consumption is the right path to follow, for both residents and APS.
In APS' case, the drive to reduce consumption stems from an Arizona Corporation Commission decision that required utilities to cut their customers' annual energy use by at least 22 percent by 2020.
That move, while right for environmental concerns, hit APS' bottom line – after all, as consumer's bill decreases, so does the revenue coming back into the company, which in turn means less revenue to cover costs and needed infrastructure work.
And if APS customers have reduced consumption, their bills will reflect that.
Customers have two options to choose from when it comes to the new charge. One is a flat charge option based on your monthly energy use – so the less you use, again, the less you pay. The second option is a more complicated figure, based on lost sales from energy efficiency programs and approved by the ACC. Officials estimate that consumers will see a fee ranging from 14 cents to $6.50 per month, depending on which option they choose and how much power they consume. The higher end of the fee may be a burden for those on fixed incomes, but if consumers use less, they pay less, which applies to the new fee as well. The opposite applies to those who use more – then they also pay more, both in regular charges and the new added charge.
Many APS customers have said they feel the change is unfair – after all, they were asked to save electricity, and now they are being “penalized” for doing so.
However, good energy consumption practices are still being rewarded, in the form of lower fixed costs charges. APS is, in the end, a business, and must cover its costs just like any other business. The ACC decision to lower energy consumption has left APS – and its consumers – between the proverbial rock and a hard place. However, residents can still see a cost savings by continuing to lower their energy consumption – which, environmentally and financially, is the best thing to do.