New changes coming to APS customer billing plans

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Big changes are coming to your electric bill. 

Last August APS announced its prices were going up. Now, APS customers are being asked to pick a new service plan, and there are a lot of them. 

"I know my wife likes to put lights on in every room, so I'm shutting off every light," said APS customer Bruce Margolis regarding his energy usage.

As a retiree, Margolis didn't know what to think when he heard APS rate plans would be changing. 

"I'm thinking about, 'Oh no, what's going on here? In the summertime we could have a $3 to $400 bill a month,'" said Margolis. 

By May, APS plans to switch over one million of its customers to its new payment schedules. 

There used to be three types of plans, but now there are six, and customers have to decide which one works for them.

Some are flat rate, others charge by time of use. And those peak hours are also changing from the current Noon to 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. 

"And it's really just aligning with how and when our customers are using energy so we can maximize efficiencies in our system and deliver the most reliable and cost-efficient product," said Stacy Dersteine, APS VP of Customer Service.

But if you're confused by all of this, you're not the only one. 

"Consumers are really confused. They don't seem to understand what choices they have," said Diane Brown with the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.

Brown says her group has not been a fan of these changes since they were proposed. "All along we argued that we thought the costs for the rate increase were unjustified," she said. 

Brown estimates a total of 226,000 APS customers will experience a 73 percent or greater increase in their mandatory monthly basic service charge.

APS has started sending out letters to customers letting them know about their new options. 

"They can call here in our contact center and we can walk them through, or they can choose to do nothing and we will move them to a rate that looks most similar to the rate that they're on today," said Dersteine.

Margolis did just that. After a few phone calls he says now he understands and is ready for the new changes.

"Oh yeah I feel a lot better, especially not getting hit with a $3 to $400 bill a month bill especially in the summertime when you use your air conditioner a lot," he said. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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