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Hobbs asks U.S. to lower utility rates for Florence, Coolidge residents

Gov. Katie Hobbs said she is communicating with the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs about lowering rates for Florence and Coolidge residents served by the San Carlos Irrigation Project.

SCIP is a federally-owned utility, which raised its rates in September, citing weather events and a “high demand for energy resources” as a need to adjust prices.

Republican state Sen. T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge) represents many of the affected consumers and criticized Hobbs in October for failing to respond to a letter from himself and other Republican lawmakers raising concerns about the high rates. The lawmakers also criticized Hobbs in their letter.

Shope said some energy bills have spiked by more than 250%, which can amount to hundreds of dollars.

Hobbs now says she’s taking action. “We’re absolutely convening conversations around this. It is largely a federal issue, and so we’re looking at them, potential options to reduce those rates,” she said.

Hobbs and her Communications Director Christian Slater did not say what the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs has told them or whether the Bureau is amenable to bringing the utility rates back down.

Shope said he’s also in contact with federal lawmakers Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Sen. Mark Kelly and Congressman Eli Crane. He told KJZZ News that he’s glad Hobbs is engaged now as “people need help from all of us right now.” 

Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.