MCC to host hearing on proposed rate hikes for gas and electric and sale of Citizens to UniSource

Mohave Community College will host hearings on the proposed electric and gas rate increases and the sale to UniSource Energy at 10 a.m.

Wednesday.

The Arizona Corporation Commission will hold the public hearing in Kingman on increases in Citizen Arizona Electric and Citizens Arizona Gas proposed rate increases and the purchase of both by UniSource Energy in the MCC Library on Jagerson Avenue.

Hearings in Prescott and Flagstaff were not well attended.

Dennis Nelson, utility vice president for UniSource Energy, is expected to attend the Kingman hearing.

He will head UniSource Energy Services, the new division of UniSource that will manage the Citizens properties when the purchase is approved by the ACC.

UniSource Energy would form a new subsidiary, UniSource Energy Services, to operate the Citizens gas and electric distribution divisions.

Tucson Electric Company is the largest subsidiary of UniSource.

Citizens participated in an earlier hearing on the proposed gas and electric rate increases in Kingman over a year ago.

The hearing room at the Mohave County Supervisors room was filled beyond capacity as consumers voiced objections to the rate increases.

The approval process was delayed by ACC when UniSource Energy contracted purchase and requested that ACC reduce the rate increase.

Steve Lynn, manager for corporate relations for UniSource Energy, said the contract to purchase Citizens gas and electric operations includes resolution of the rate cases.

UniSource estimates Citizens customers would save $25 million if the ACC accepts the amended request.

Citizens filed the rate increase request after the spike in electric energy costs in the summer of 2000.

ACC regulations allow gas and electric distribution companies to pass higher wholesale costs on the consumer.

UniSource reduced the Citizens Arizona electric rate increase request by 45 percent Lynn said.

Citizen Arizona Gas proposed rate increase was reduced 22 percent by UniSource.

Judge Dwight Nodes continues to handle the case for the ACC.

Following hearings in Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Flagstaff, Prescott, Nogales and Show Low, procedures move to Phoenix.

A final settlement agreement is due April 1 and evidence hearings begin May 1.

The sale is expected to close in midsummer after the ACC makes decisions on the two rate cases and the sale.

Citizens who want to make comments to the ACC and cannot attend the March 26 hearing in Kingman can send written testimony to Consumer Services Section of the Commission, 1200 W.

Washington St.

Phoenix, AZ.

85007.

Call 1-800-222-7000 for comments or information.