In the wake of allegations that residents died after their electricity was turned off, the Arizona Corporation Commissioners approved modifications to the utilities’ termination of service procedures.
In June, Commissioners ordered all regulated utilities to file new termination of service rule language.
This week’s vote by the Commission incorporates:
● a disconnection prohibition period for residential customers from June 1 through October 15
● a new notification process during that period, limits on the specific days a utility is permitted to disconnect residential customers
● prevention of late fee or interest accrual during the prohibition period for the majority of regulated utilities.
Two utility companies, Garkane Energy Cooperative, Inc. and Navopache Electric Cooperative Inc., were approved to adhere to disconnection rules based on temperature.
Garkane Energy and Navopache Electric Cooperative will be required to prohibit electricity shutoffs when the temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
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In June, the Commission’s staff released a report in response to Commissioner requests for an inquiry into what occurred in the Arizona Public Service Company (APS) incident involving the death 72-year-old customer after her electricity service was turned off.
The report detailed APS and staff timelines of events involving the disconnection of service.
|The report found there was no APS documentation of person-to-person contact made with the customer at critical times and what might have been said. “While staff is not disputing APS’s assertions that it took certain actions to comply with the rules, staff simply cannot substantiate with documentation APS’s actions in all cases.”|
Based on the Corporation Commission’s staff review of the record, it shows a deceased APS customer’s daughter called the Corporation Commission’s Consumer Services section to request information on the Commission’s disconnection policy and notice requirements on September 17, 2018. Based on the report, the woman mentioned her mother had passed away.
The Commission found no indication that there was a link between her mother passing away and the request for information on the Commission’s disconnection policy.
According to the Commission, the daughter never communicated to Consumer Services that she believed that her mother’s death was in any way related to APS’s disconnection of service. The daughter “inquired about disconnection policies but did not file a complaint,” reads the report.
The Consumer Services section assists customers of utilities with a variety of matters involving utility service, rates, disconnection of service, requests for deposits, refusal of service, a utility’s policies and procedures, installations, quality of service, responsibility for a bill, and complaints.
In developing the report, staff was also directed to determine if APS complied with the Commission’s rules and its own disconnection policy.
The report found there was no APS documentation of person-to-person contact made with the customer at critical times and what might have been said. “While staff is not disputing APS’s assertions that it took certain actions to comply with the rules, staff simply cannot substantiate with documentation APS’s actions in all cases.”