APS Temporarily Halting Power Disconnections In Wake Of Reported Death

By Jimmy Jenkins, Daniel Perle
Published: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 6:25pm
Updated: Monday, June 17, 2019 - 9:21am

Arizona Public Service announced that it is reviewing its disconnection policies. The company said it will temporarily stop shutting off power to customers who are behind on payments.

The public utility said the decision was driven by a number of factors, including comments at public meetings, the impending summer heat, and reports of a customer who died from heat-related causes after her power was turned off in 2018.

APS Vice President Stacy Derstine said the company will conduct a thorough evaluation of disconnection policies.

“We’ll be bringing together community organizations, limited income advocates and others to work together to determine best options for our customers to keep the service on,” Derstine said.

APS said customers will still be responsible for paying their bills on time and that there are assistance programs available, including payment arrangements and due date extensions.

Stacey Champion owns a phoenix public relations firm and has been publicly lobbying against APS rate hikes for years. She said the incident should have been dealt with months ago when Pullman’s family originally alerted the Arizona Corporation Commission about her death.

“None of this should be news to them and the fact that they’re now all scrambling and reacting in the face of more stories basically should tell everyone everything," Champion said.

APS’s own data shows they had 110,000 power shut offs in 2018. That figure includes both residential and commercial customers.