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APS chief accepts Corp Comm invitation to testify on heat-related deaths

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APS head Don Brandt has agreed to appear before the Arizona Corporation Commission at its open meeting in August to answer questions about the utilty’s disconnection rules and policies. 

In a letter he sent to commissioners late Friday, Brandt accepted the voluntary offer, but he asked to have more time to prepare answers to the 67 questions commissioners already sent him. 

Don Brandt

Don Brandt

“I will make myself available to answer questions and will bring with me the appropriate senior subject matter experts,” Brandt wrote. “I do, however, respectfully request additional time to fully prepare the answers to your extensive questions.”

Brandt asked the commissioners to pick a later date he could come in, but did not say he would back out if they did not agree to this additional term. 

Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, a Democrat, and Chairman Bob Burns, a Republican, have voiced support in subpoenaing Brandt if he does not show up next month, but the remaining commissioners have all indicated they’re not interested in subpoenaing him, at least not yet.  

The commissioners are seeking many answers from Brandt and APS at their August meeting, but at the crux, they want to know what exactly happened with the three known deaths caused by power disconnections, something Brandt has yet to go on record about, and failed to mention in his response letter, despite dubbing himself the “spokesman, so to speak, for the company.” 

Among the 67 questions commissioners posed to Brandt or his underlings are inquiries about why Stephanie Pullman, the 72-year-old Sun City woman who died as a result of her power being disconnected for nonpayment, was shut off two days after paying $125 toward her bill. 

Commissioners also want to know what Pullman’s bills looked like before the rate increase in 2017, likely so they can see which third of APS customers she was a part of: Those whose bill decreased, those whose bill increased less than 10%, or those whose bill increased more than 10%.

There is no indication whether the commissioners will agree to let Brandt come in at a later date, but the commission will meet regardless on August 6 and 7. 

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