electric car
Thompson, O’Connor Offer Amendments To APS EV Charging Plan

December 11, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

Last week, Commissioner Kevin Thompson announced that he and Chairman Jim O’Connor had “successfully offered amendments in the APS Transportation Electrification Implementation Plan and Budget (TEIP) agenda item.” The actions from the two commissioners took place in the panel’s meeting on December 5.

According to Thompson’s press release, he “authored an amendment that rejected the utility’s request to use up to $5M in ratepayer funds to develop and install EV charging infrastructure as part of the utility’s proposed ‘Take Charge AZ’ program.” O’Connor’s amendment ensured “that any EV rebates offered by the utility must be provided at shareholder expense, and not at the expense of ratepayers or ratepayer subsidization.”

“We can’t continue to financially burden the majority of ratepayers who don’t own an EV or who utilize charging stations,” said Commissioner Thompson. “Infrastructure for EV charging is an opportunity for the market and private enterprise to innovate and thrive, not utilities at the expense of their ratepayers.”

O’Connor added, “Our decision on Trico’s EV program in September of this year set the model we would like to see for all future EV charging; namely, no cost shift to ratepayers.”

The communication from Thompson’s Office shared that Commissioner Nick Myers also “provided an amendment that discontinued the Take Charge AZ program moving forward, allowing APS to complete the installation of charging stations currently underway.”

In his first year on the job, Thompson has taken several actions to improve efficiencies at the commission and to stand up for ratepayers. This summer, Thompson fulfilled a priority of his when he helped to secure increased funding for Corporation Commission staff without adding any more dollars to the state’s general fund. He said, “One of the significant consequences of being understaffed and under-resourced is that Arizona has consistently ranked in the bottom tier nationally in processing utility rate cases—it takes fifty percent longer to process a rate case in Arizona – resulting in delays to build new generation and replace critical infrastructure, driving up ratepayer costs and further destabilizing our regulatory and investment climate.”

Thompson also announced that he had “amended several provisions in a recent proposal for UniSource Energy’s (“UNS”) Demand Side Management (“DSM”) Energy Efficiency (“EE”) program.” The release explained that these amendments “eliminated or revised several proposals” and “reigned in ratepayer-funded incentives to contractors and sales consultants and focused on prioritizing programs that provided greater value to residential customers and target low-income customers.”

The Republican Commissioner also led a letter to Governor Katie Hobbs in October, asking the state’s chief executive to address the overwhelming price increases for electricity customers of the San Carlos Irrigation Project. The letter was co-signed by three of his colleagues – Lea Marquez Peterson, Myers, and O’Connor.

Commissioner Anna Tovar, the lone Democrat on the panel, did not add her name to the letter. Thompson told AZ Free News that he and his fellow Republicans “are willing to do whatever we can in our individual capacities to encourage our delegation and state government to put aside partisanship and get the federal government out of the business that private enterprise should be providing.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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