Dec 232011

By Teri Walker–

Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) customers will see lower bills in 2012, thanks to a recent Arizona Corporation Commission decision to reduce monthly tariffs.

APS charges customers a monthly surcharge, or tariff, to fund the company’s renewable energy development program. Because APS has garnered some savings in the program during the past year, the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utility costs, voted last week to reduce the monthly surcharge in the coming year.

“There was found money in APS’s budget, so the commission decided to put it toward a credit so the surcharge didn’t have to go up this year,” said Rebecca Wilder, communications director for the commission.

The monthly surcharge is $4.05 today, but it will drop in 2012 to a maximum of $3.84.

The surcharge is paid out in incentives or rebates to customers who participate in energy-saving activities such as installing solar panels, or using Energy Star appliances or products.

In 2006, the commission passed a renewable energy standard that requires Arizona utilities to get 15 percent of their energy through renewable energy sources by 2025. Each year, utilities must set renewable energy goals, and the commission monitors progress. The surcharges fund APS’s efforts to achieve the mandated energy standards.

Wilder said most years, customers should expect an increase in the monthly surcharge, but 2012 will be an exception.

The surcharge is based on customer usage, but is capped at $3.84 per month.