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Commissioner Tobin Wants APS To Study Battery Storage

The newest state utility regulator is blasting the chairman of the corporation commission over his handling of Arizona Public Service.

At issue is whether the state’s largest utility should help customers with rebates during peak demand times.
APS uses customer funds for rebates on things like programmable thermostats and more efficient air conditioners.

Corporation commissioner Andy Tobin said the company has nearly $26 million sitting in that account. So, he proposed requiring APS to use $4 million of that to study battery storage to help ratepayers cut down at peak demand times.

Commission chairman Doug Little yanked the item from the agenda and then criticized Tobin for trying to force the discussion.

"I put these things out and they both said they were good ideas, but they didn't want to have a conversation," Tobin said. "And now because APS didn't like it, now I'm the bad guy."

APS recently asked the commission to charge residential customers more if peak demand exceeds certain levels, and Tobin believes energy storage could go a long way to reducing the demand, without hiking rates.

In a prepared statement, Little said he's not necessarily opposed to energy storage, but has concerns about Tobin’s plan.

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.