PHOENIX — Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Monday that Arizona Public Service Company (APS) will pay $24 million to more than 200,000 overcharged customers in our state.
The agreement is aimed to help those customers who were "not on their most economical rate plan for electric utility service."
“Throughout my time as Attorney General, I have consistently said businesses large and small need to make sure consumers have adequate information about products and services,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a statement. “Today’s historic and consequential settlement provides $24 million to more than two hundred thousand Arizonans who may have relied on inadequate information from APS.”
After the AG's office learned of errors in the "Customer Education and Outreach Program" created by APS which included an online plan comparison tool, aimed to help customers evaluate and compare the various plan options, they began to investigate. Their investigation discovered that the error affected the plan comparison tool from February 2019 to November 2019.
The investigation also revealed that a data error in late 2017 affected more APS customers. The error-affected letters were sent out recommending the "Saver Choice" plan as the most economical plan for customers and were calculated using an inaccurate rate schedule for the "Saver Choice" plan. In doing so, some customers moved to the plan and did not receive an updated plan recommendation in 2018.
After negotiations with the AG's office, APS agreed to pay $24 million for some residential customers.
See the breakdown of Consumer Restitution below:
- $20.7 million to up to 210,000 consumers who APS estimates were not on their most economical plan as of the March 2020 billing cycle and would have saved $120 or more over the previous 12 months. This group of consumers will receive a per capita payment of at least $98.
- Up to $3.3 million to approximately 17,500 consumers who may have been affected by the data error in the 2017 Letters. This group of consumers will receive a varying restitution payment based on the extent of the likely effect on the consumer resulting from the data error.
- Restitution will be provided in the form of checks (or possibly bill credits) and will be made within four months of the court’s approval of the consent agreement.
- APS previously compensated consumers impacted by its rate tool errors. The restitution announced today is separate and in addition to those refunds.
Additionally, APS shall pay $200,000 to cover the state’s cost of the investigation. Furthermore, APS shall pay $550,000 to promote the Attorney General Office’s consumer and community outreach awareness and prevention programs. Residential customers with questions about their rate plans should visit aps.com or call APS directly at 602-371-7171 or 800-253-9405.Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta, Jr., Senior Litigation Counsel Rebecca Salisbury, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Bonham, and Consumer Litigation Unit Chief Matthew du Mée handled this historic and consequential case.
Read the full copy of the complaint here.