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Small Arizona Utility Considers Raising Electricity Costs

Opposition is building against a proposal to raise electricity rates for customers of a small utility in two Arizona counties. 

A public hearing for UNS Electric will be held in Nogales on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for customers to weigh in on the possible changes. 

 “Anti-consumer,” “reprehensible” and “corporate greed" are just some of the phrases found while leafing through the hundreds of public comments against the UNS proposed rate hike.

Since the beginning of March, the Arizona Corporation Commission has been hearing from utilities, consumer advocates, solar companies and other stakeholders in an effort to determine what customers should pay. UNS is owned by Tucson Electric Power and has about 93,000 customers in Santa Cruz and Mohave Counties. At issue, in particular, is the so-called “demand charge” that would be tied to the peak hour when a customer uses the most energy. 

If approved, it would be the first time such a charge is required for residential customers in the state and could set a precedent for the upcoming rate cases this year, including for Arizona Public Service and TEP. 

The commission will hold two other public hearings at the end of the month in Kingman and Lake Havasu City.

 

 

 

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Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.