Corporation Commission Still Accepting Comments on Unisource’s Proposed 2024 Rate Hike
Lake Havasu City, AZ – Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to inform the public that the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is still accepting comments for Unisource Electric’s proposed 14% rate increase. If approved, it would be the first rate increase since 2016 for residential customers. While Johnson understands the need for businesses to raise their rates during times of high inflation, Johnson also worries that this increase will cause irreparable harm on Lake Havasu City residents. “Lake Havasu residents just received a substantial increase in their electric bills this past summer after Unisource implemented a usage-based surcharge,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated. “While Unisource claims this new surcharge would only raise rates about $11 a month for the average customer, I am finding that estimate to be bluntly underestimated. I have received numerous phone calls over the past two weeks with folks finding their bills going up $100-300 while using the same electricity that they used in prior years,” Johnson continued.
The recent surcharge approved by the Corporation Commission at the end of March was done through the Purchased Power and Fuel Adjustor Clause. This allowed Unisource to recover unreimbursed costs related to purchased power and fuel costs totaling about $104 million. Unlike a rate increase, surcharges come with an expiration date. The surcharge approved in March for Unisource will expire in 2025.
On top of the surcharge, Unisource also applied for a rate increase in November of 2022. According to Unisource, the reason for the rate increase is related to inflation and to help cover the costs of investments made since 2014 that went to supporting a stronger, more secure energy grid. Unisource estimates the average increase for residential customers will be around $18.52 a month. “While I do not think anyone can argue that inflation has raised the costs of practically everything in this Country, I fear that the residents of Lake Havasu cannot afford this. It would be one thing if it were just an $18 increase, but like with the surcharge, that $18 figure is very misleading,” Johnson stated. This projected increase will vary based on usage, and customers’ total bills also will be affected by changes to fuel and purchased power rates between now and then.
Johnson urges anyone concerned about the upcoming rate increase to contact the Corporation Commission. While the website says that public comments ended on August 10th, the Corporation Commission will continue to accept comments up until the September 14th hearing. The September 14th hearing at 10am will be held in the Phoenix/Tucson area; however, the Commission will has set up a public telephone line for anyone wishing to submit comments during the hearing. The call in number and access code will be: 1 (877) 309-3457 Passcode to Speak 24601833204##
For those wishing to submit comments electronically, you can do so @https://efiling.azcc.gov/online-services/utilities-public-comment-external
You will need the docket number: E-04204A-22-0251.
Or call ACC Utilities Division, (602) 542-4251 or (800) 222-7000.