Jul 9, 2012 11:59 PM
TUCSON - It has been nearly five years since Tucson Electric Power last raised rates for electricty, so it should not come as a shock that TEP now wants more money from customers.
In 2008 TEP agreed not to ask for a rate increase for 5 years. Since then, TEP says despite rising costs and a weak economy it has spent more than $1 billion dollars upgrading and improving service. TEP Media Supervisor, Joseph Barrios says the company is now looking to recoup some of that money.
"We are asking for higher rates to cover the cost of system investments", he said. "That is money we have poured in to our power plants and our distribution systems like poles and wires."
TEP customers are wondering why a rate hike now? Customer, Katie Hideman, says she is still not clear on the reasons rates might be going up.
"If it's just so somebody can have a bigger office or to pay for that big building then that's hard but if it's because they can't pay their employees than maybe it's reasonable," she says.
According to Barrios, TEP has already done the math on what reasonable will look like for the average family in Tucson,"The average residential customer will see a monthly increase of about $13 dollars. However, the average mothly bill would remain under $100 dollars.
It is now up to the Arizona Corporation Commission to decide if there will be hearings and how the process will proceed. TEP is looking to have the new rates in place by August of 2013.