Judge rejects APS rate hike, tells utility to cut its costs

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PHOENIX -- Arizona Public Service Company's bid for a short-term rate hike to help the electric utility until its pending rate case is decided has been rejected.

9.4 percent hike still possible

Administrative law judge Lyn Farmer's order also directs APS parent company Pinnacle West Capital Company to explore cost-cutting options, such as cutting dividends to shareholders and executive bonuses, and explore any other measures to reduce overhead without diminishing service.

APS must respond to the judge's order by Nov. 21.

The five-member Arizona Corporation Commission will then make a final decision on the matter in an open hearing.

APS wanted to raise customers' monthly bills by $4.66 on average starting this month, but the short-term hike was only temporary since the utility actually is trying to get a 9.4 percent rate increase that would bring the monthly average household electric bill up about $11.

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