AARP Arizona Statement
June 21, 2019
AARP commends the decision of the Arizona Corporation Commission to enact the temporary disconnection ban under emergency provision yesterday, and for seeking the input and participation of all stakeholders to develop an appropriate permanent disconnection ban. A permanent disconnection ban must address both heat and cold situations and find affordable ways for low-income and fixed-income customers to manage their utility costs.
"What happened to the Pullman family was both incredibly tragic and unnecessary," said Dana Marie Kennedy, AARP Arizona State Director said. "Ms. Pullman was paying her electric bills, yet was evidently unable to pay her bills in full. Disconnecting her electricity in a period of high temperatures had a detrimental impact on her health, and she did not survive. We must ensure this never happens again to another Arizonan. We will work with stakeholders and regulators to find and implement the best permanent protection from inappropriate disconnections for older Arizonans, their families, and all the financially disadvantaged."
Utility rates are a critical pocketbook issue for Arizonans, many of whom struggle to afford housing costs, food, and necessary medications. AARP will continue to fight for fair and affordable utility rates for all residents of Arizona. We advocate for changes that include consumer-friendly and understandable rate structures – not the five complicated options available under the current rate plan for APS. This rate structure often confuses APS customers, with more than half paying more than they need to for their electricity.
"Arizona will never be able to replace what the Pullman family lost," said Kennedy. "But we must take action to protect our neighbors and communities and enact policies that will permanently protect them and their access to affordable and reliable electric power."