APS Admits 2 More Deaths After Power Disconnections
Arizona's largest electric utility is telling its regulators that two more customers died after their power was disconnected for not paying their bills.
Arizona Public Service told the state Corporation Commission Wednesday that it settled lawsuits stemming from deaths last July and in 2011.
APS reviewed its records after questions from commissioners regarding the September death of a 72-year-old Sun City West woman. The commission last month barred all disconnections by regulated utilities between June 1 and Oct. 15.
The letter from APS executive Barbara Lockwood didn't identify the customers who died or reveal what the utility paid. She also noted two other claims by people who said their health was affected by disconnections.
Lockwood said in all four cases there were other factors affecting the customers' health.
APS executive Daniel Froestcher will not admit any wrongdoing on behalf of the company, but said by settling, it avoided a "good deal of expense" and kept surviving family members from a painful experience.
"And so from an avoided litigation cost there's some sense of entering into settlement discussions in those kinds of cases without any admission of liability or responsibility. And in both of these cases we determined that was probably the best path forward," said Froestcher.