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Why are APS rates higher than other utilities in Arizona?

APS is the largest utility in Arizona, serving about 2.7 million people in 11 of the 15 counties across the state.

Their Rates are slightly more expensive than Salt River Project's and the other utilities in Arizona.

However, as of March 2018 a bill reduction of $0.004258/kWh will be passed on to all APS customers. This reduction will save customers an average of $5.40 per month off their electricity bills.

This is a result of the Arizona Corporation Commission approving a $119 million federal corporate tax cut.

Which is the best APS electric rates plan for you?

APS have 5 plans to choose from:

  1. Saver Choice
  2. Saver Choice Plus
  3. Saver Choice Max
  4. Lite Choice
  5. Premier Choice

APS offers both tiered and time of use rate plans.

A "Tiered rate plan" is a rate plan where the amount you pay per kWh for electricity increases as the quantity of electricity consumed increases. Generally there is a baseline allowance of a certain number of kWhs (kilowatt hours) per month that are charged at a cheaper rate, and then usage above this allowance is charged at a higher rate.

A "Time of Use" rate plan is an electricity plan where the amount charged per kilowatt hour (kWh) is determined by the time of the day and the season of the year in which it is used.

Time-of-Use plans will typically have "peak" periods with higher rates and "off peak" with lower rates.

The idea behind time of use billing is to get customers to use less power at peak periods (when most people use a lot of power). Peak periods put a lot of strain on the grid. This is why time of use billing is being implemented by all major utilities. It is an attempt to encourage consumers to help spread out the load, and thus reduce investment needed to support brief periods of extremely high usage.

If customers can adjust their habits to use appliances at non-peak times they have to potential to significantly lower their electricity bills. Although, as power at peak times is much more expensive, if you continue to use lots of power at peak times your bill could be higher.

What are the Time of Use rate plans?

APS has 3 different time of use plans; Saver Choice, Saver Choice Plus and Saver Choice Max.

 

Saver Choice

The Saver Choice plan offers an entry level time of use plan. The Saver Choice has an Off-Peak charge of $0.115 per kWh. This rate is slightly less the tiered plans but with an On-Peak charge of $0.249 per kWh (summer) and $0.217 kWh (winter), you could quickly end up paying more for you electricity if you don't cut back during peak hours.

The Saver Choice also includes a super Off-Peak at 10am-3pm from November to April. This rate is only $0.032 per kWh. This is a great plan if your are looking at changing to a time of use rate.

Plan Name: Residential - Time-Of-Use - Saver Choice (TOU-E)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $16.88
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.115
Peak: $0.249
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.102
Peak: $0.217
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:

For more information check out the Saver Choice tariff sheet.

 

Saver Choice Plus

The Saver Choice Plus and Saver Choice Max plans both include a on-peak hour usage (demand) charge.

The peak hour demand charge is only applicable to the Saver Choice Plus and the Saver Choice Max. The peak hour charge takes an hour during the month (peak times only) when you've used the most energy and uses the amount of energy used (kW) during that hour to calculate the on-peak hour usage (demand) charge.

For example, The Lara family, who puts a priority on comfort and convenience, comes home from work and during one on-peak hour:

  • Sets their AC at 75

  • Cooks dinner

  • Starts a few loads of laundry

  • Runs their pool pump


The Lara family is on the Saver Choice Max rate plan, and its a winter. The on-peak hour usage (demand) charge for summer is $12.239 per kW, because their maximum hour usage for the month was 8.1kW.

Therefore, the charge for that particular month with be 12.239*8.1= 99.136. Almost $100 on top of your other usage costs, that's a hefty fee. Although, if you are able to really shift your electricity usage away from peaks hours, this plan can save you a lot due to the lower peak and non-peak rates.

Source: https://www.aps.com/en/residential/accountservices/serviceplans/Pages/demand-rates.aspx

The Saver Choice Plus includes a demand charge. This charge can quickly run up a huge bill if you don't limit your usage in peak hours. Remember, the demand charge is calculated on the hour of the month when the most energy is used (during peak times only).

The demand charge is offset by a lower peak and off peak energy charge.

Plan Name: Residential - Saver Choice Plus (R-2)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $16.88
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.081
Peak: $0.135
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.081
Peak: $0.113
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:

For more information check out the Saver Choice plus tariff sheet.

 

Saver Choice Max

The Saver Choice Max has extremely low on and off peak energy charges. Although has a very high demand charge. If you are able to really limit your power during all peak times this plan has the potential to save a lot of money.

Plan Name: Residential - Saver Choice Max (R-3)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $16.88
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.056
Peak: $0.09
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Off-Peak: $0.056
Peak: $0.067
Weekday Times
Off-Peak: Midnight to 3pm, 8pm to midnight
Peak: 3pm to 8pm
Weekend Times
Off-Peak: All hours
Peak:

For more information check out the Saver Choice max tariff sheet.

What are the Tiered rate plans?

APS has 2 different Tiered rate plans; Lite Choice and Premier Choice.

 

Lite Choice plan

The Lite Choice plan is available to customers who have a monthly use of 600 kWh or less.

Plan Name: Extra Small Residential - Lite Choice (R-XS)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $10
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.134
Tier2: $0.123
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 400 kWh
Tier2: Above 400 kWh
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.134
Tier2: $0.123
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 400 kWh
Tier2: Above 400 kWh

For more information check out the Lite Choice tariff sheet.


Premier Choice

Premier Choice is available to customers who have a monthly use between 601-999 kWh.

Plan Name: Small Residential - Premier Choice (R-BASIC)
Last Update: March 1, 2018
Fixed Charge: Service Charge: $14.99
Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.141
Tier2: $0.13
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 400 kWh
Tier2: Above 400 kWh
Winter (November 1 to April 30)
Rate per kWh
Tier1: $0.141
Tier2: $0.13
Energy in Tier
Tier1: First 400 kWh
Tier2: Above 400 kWh

For more information check out the the Premier Choice tariff sheet.

When are the peak and non-peak periods?

  • On-Peak hours (higher cost): 3pm - 8pm Monday - Friday

  • Off-Peak hours (lower cost): 8pm - 3pm Monday - Friday, all day on weekends and 10 holidays

  • Super Off-Peak hours (lowest cost): 10am - 3pm Monday - Friday during the winter (November - April)

  • 10 holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

    *If these holidays fall on a Saturday, the preceding Friday will be off-peak. If they fall on a Sunday, the following Monday will be off-peak.

Source: https://www.aps.com/en/residential/accountservices/serviceplans/Pages/saver-choice.aspx?src=RB

How do I work out if I am on the cheapest APS rate plan for my usage pattern?

If you can limit your usage during peak times then a time of use plan is probably going to end up cheaper. Although, if you cannot limit usage during peak times, then a tiered plan is the way to go.

Big utilities are all making the switch to time of use billing. So, it could be a good idea to get in the habit now of using less power during peak times (3-8pm on weekdays).

To do an exact comparison on how much you would save from switching plans requires collecting your detailed usage data for the last 12 months. This is known as Interval Data and sometimes also called Green Button Data.

 

Interval Data
Green Button data

 

Interval or Green Button data is your electrical usage data for the last 12 months in one hour (or even shorter) intervals. This data is available from your utility provider.

 

HINT: Often the easiest way to get this data is to ask a solar company to get it for you, as they need to retrieve this data anyway in order to properly estimate the costs and savings that might be available to you by installing solar panels in the APS area.

How do I get my interval data for the last 12 months?

This data is available from APS. They are required by law to send it to you. Although, this is not the easiest way to obtain the data.

There is also a website called UtilityAPI.com that allows you to get this data for $15 (they have an electronic interface to APS).

However, if you own your home and it is a single family dwelling, then a really good way to get this data for free is to request solar quotes from local solar companies.

Generally, solar offers much bigger savings than simply swapping rate plans (as the plans are designed to give the same overall cost to average consumers) and a solar designer will usually need to get the same interval data to work out what size solar system would cover your bill, and to forecast savings accurately for you.

Solar companies will usually retrieve and analyze your interval electricity usage data for free in the hope of winning your solar business.

Find out how much you could save with time-of-use. Get personalized results with the Cut My Bill calculator. It's Free and Easy!

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How much can I save per month by swapping to my cheapest plan?

For most people the amount you can save by swapping plans is minimal because rate plans are designed to work out roughly the same in terms of total costs for consumers with average consumption patterns.

In most cases savings will be between $0-$15 per month, but they could be much larger for high energy users or for homes and businesses with non-typical usage patterns.

This limited upside for a rate plan change is why most people in Arizona who own their homes are now looking at solar as the best method to reduce their power bill.

Even moderate electricity consumers with a monthly APS bill of only $150 (with suitable homes) can often save $50 or more (even after the solar repayment) every month by going solar, and in many cases they can almost eliminate their power bill after the 7-8 year payback period. The savings over the lifetime of the system (25 years) is usually tens of thousands of dollars.

Find solar companies near you and the cost of solar panels in Arizona.

Find out how to reduce your APS electricity bill.