Tucson Electric Power seeking nearly 12% rate increase

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Image source: Wikimedia commons/Zereshk

The utility that provides electricity to nearly 440,000 homes and businesses in Tucson and surrounding areas wants to raise its rates for residential customers by nearly 12% and for business customers by a slightly lower amount.

Tucson Electric Power announced its intent to seek approval for the rate increases from the Arizona Corporation Commission on Friday. If approved, they would go into effect in September 2023.

The company said the increases are needed to pay for its investments in wind and solar renewable energy, add new substations and update existing other ones, and invest in technology and grid security.

Residential customers on the company’s basic plan will see their average monthly bill go up by $14.22, or 11.7%. Those on time-of-use plans will see their bills go up by about the same amount, while those on two other residential plans will see slightly higher increases.

Business rates will go up by 11.3% for a small customer, 11.6% for a medium use firm, and 6.7% for large commercial customers. The average small business will see their bill go up by about $36, although the amount will vary widely.

The company said it has added new power sources, including a large new facility called the Oro Grande Wind facility in southeastern New Mexico. The wind farm was set to go online last year and can supply enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes.

The utility is aiming to get 70% of its power from wind and solar plants by 2035. It plans to shut down its two units at the coal-fired Springerville Generating Station in eastern Arizona in 2027 and 2032.

With the new generating capacity and closure of its coal plants, Tucson Electric Power said it will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2035.

Tucson Electric Power has seen its peak energy demand increase by 5.7% since 2019 and added 14,000 new residential and commercial customers. Its average costs have increased at a rate lower than inflation over the past three years.

The utility and parent company UNS Energy are subsidiaries of Fortis Inc.

Republished with the permission of The Associated Press.