We provide tours of the Apache Generating Station on a regular basis to educate the public, civic groups, state legislators, members of Congress, and regulators about how we work to control costs and maintain the lowest rates possible. Here, Mike Nelson (r), director of power production, explains plant operations during a tour for Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin, center. ACC staff members Matt Gress and Ron Bellus (l-r) also toured the plant.
Arizona G&T Cooperatives operate on a not-for-profit basis. Like most cooperatives, we return most profits to our member-owners. This sets us apart from investor-owned utilities, which return profits to stockholders.
We work hard every day to keep electric rates affordable for our member-owners. Our members are experiencing significant challenges managing the impacts of the current economy. Rural communities have been hit hard in recent years by the economic downturn. We are doing all we can to provide affordable power to residents and businesses at the end of the line.
New regulatory requirements have led to significantly higher electric bills for most consumers across the nation. We have not been immune from such rate increases, but controlling costs remains one of our top priorities. For example, we successfully concluded a three-year legal battle with two major railroads that deliver coal to our plant, Apache Generating Station. The outcome assures competitive shipping rates—a significant component of our cost of coal. In addition, we’ve already saved on coal costs because we’ve been able to purchase coal at more competitive prices from new sources.
We are working to find affordable and efficient ways to meet new EPA regulations. In 2017, we plan to convert one of our two coal-fired units at Apache Generating Station to natural gas, and to add emission controls to the other coal unit, to comply with EPA regional haze requirements. In addition, we recently restructured and streamlined our management and staff to gain efficiencies. A sophisticated new budgeting process improves our ability to track expenses and financial trends. And our new partnership with ACES saves staffing costs and enhances service to our members.
Various federal and state regulators affect Arizona G&T Cooperatives, including the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which regulates our rates, facilities sitings and other issues.