Corp. Commission green lights APS rate hike

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PHOENIX -- The Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, is once again giving Arizona Public Service Co. the go-ahead to charge its customers more money.

Rate hike approved

The ACC granted APS an emergency rate increase Thursday afternoon. Executives for the utility argued that the company was facing a financial emergency, saying its credit rating could be downgraded.

Such a downgrade would mean the company would be charged higher interest rates on financing for building and other projects. Those costs would ultimately be passed on to APS customers.

Regulators said they wanted to head off the issue before it became an even bigger emergency.

In order to get approval for the rate hike, APS has to target $20 million in expense cuts. That's in addition to the $50 million it has already cut.

Earlier in the week, the commission green lit a different increase. The $1.85 monthly charge will go toward renewable energy, including paying customers incentives for things like using solar panels.

Between the two increases, the average APS residential customer will pay an extra $4.53 each month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.