communities

Community Engagement | Collaboration & Our Clean Energy Commitment | Coal Communities Transition | Economic Development | Philanthropy & Volunteerism | Public Safety

Updated: March 2020

Our multifaceted approach to community engagement is grounded in our commitment to community development. We not only invest in the communities where we do business but also focus on building meaningful relationships, which help us manage our social, economic and environmental impact.

Community Engagement

At Arizona Public Service (APS), we initiate and maintain relationships with stakeholders to understand our communities’ needs and identify opportunities to build healthy, sustainable communities. Our community engagement teams collaborate with representatives from a wide range of community and government entities – including state, county, municipal and tribal governments; military bases; school districts; nonprofits; business organizations; and public interest groups. The relationships are one important way we collect, record and address complaints so that we work together to address concerns. In addition, the Arizona Corporation Commission has a grievance process for our customers.

We use a variety of communications channels to develop dialogue in our communities, such as open houses, community summits, business forums and other special events. These enable us to gather feedback from participants, inform them about issues that affect their communities and APS, and identify issues and opportunities for action. We also develop strategic partnerships in areas such as diversity, inclusion and workforce development to advance social and economic goals.

Our Code of Ethics and Business Practices guides ethical decision-making and helps us live and work by our company values of safety, integrity & trust, respect & inclusion and accountability. This includes how we work with communities and operate as a good corporate citizen.

Among our community engagement highlights in 2019:

  • Orchestrated the 100 Days of Helping campaign designed to connect customers with the assistance and support they need to save on energy costs. During the 100 days leading up to summer, our goal was to make a difference in the lives of our customers by spreading the word about our Energy Support program, which provides a 25% discount to those who qualify, and ensuring customers were on the right rate plans and knew how to save money through tools, tips and rebates. We reached customers across the state by promoting and engaging through social media, partnering with local media and organizations, increasing our employees’ awareness and engagement, and organizing 45 customer service events.
  • Executed Going Green and Going Smart small business workshop pilot with internal and external stakeholders attended by approximately 40 small businesses. It was so successful that this will be an event we continue to support in 2020.
  • Conducted 12 APS All-Star Clinics across Arizona to provide baseball and softball instruction for youth and seniors.

Collaboration & Our Clean Energy Commitment

APS and Arizona’s cities are aligned in our commitment to make our communities livable, attractive spaces for residents and businesses. The counties, cities and towns we serve have a stake in the reliability and affordability of the products and services we provide. As governmental bodies, they also have their own carbon and sustainability goals for their operations. Our commitment to clean energy can accelerate the ability of municipalities to attain their renewable energy goals and increase their capacity to focus on other areas, such as energy efficiency and overall sustainability.

With coal plant closures, we will work closely with impacted employees and local communities to ease the transition and support long–term economic planning for a future beyond coal.

Read more about our Clean Energy Commitment.

Coal Communities Transition

The transition away from coal-fired power plants toward a clean energy future will pose unique economic challenges for the communities around these plants. We worked collaboratively with community leaders and stakeholders to propose a comprehensive coal communities transition plan. The proposed framework provides substantial financial and economic development support to build new economic opportunities and addresses a transition strategy for plant employees. We are committed to continuing our long-running partnership with the Navajo Nation in other areas as well, including expanding electrification and developing tribal renewable projects. Our proposed plan supports the Navajo Nation, where the Four Corners Power Plant is located, the communities surrounding the Cholla Power Plant and the Hopi Tribe, which is impacted by closure of the Navajo Generating Station. Our coal communities transition plan is currently pending Arizona Corporation Commission approval.


Economic Development

For the past 27 years, our Economic Development department has worked with state, regional and community partners to attract, expand and develop business and industry in Arizona. These recruitment efforts target base industries such as manufacturing, corporate headquarters, healthcare, data centers and other companies who offer competitive wages and benefits. Attracting companies in these sectors boosts the Arizona economy through job creation and capital investment expenditures while assisting electrical load growth for the company.

In 2019 we worked with partners such as the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and other metropolitan and rural economic development organizations to attract 35 new and expanding companies to our service territory, creating an estimated 4,125 new jobs and driving more than $2.6 billion in capital investment. In an unprecedented year of data center activity, these projects collectively will add approximately 311 new megawatts of power to our system. Highlights for the year include companies such as Microsoft Corporation, Compass Datacenters, Red Bull GmbH, Farilife LLC, Piana Non-Wovens LLC and Alliance Metals Southwest. 

In addition to these business recruitment and expansion efforts, the department focused on supporting various Arizona communities with economic development strategic planning efforts, assisting in enhancing broadband deployment in rural areas, and furthering support of the state’s entrepreneurial community creating an even stronger foundation for businesses to invest and expand in Arizona.

Learn more about our economic development efforts.

Philanthropy & Volunteerism

We are actively involved in the communities we serve. We partner with nonprofit organizations and community groups across the state to build a stronger, healthier Arizona. Our efforts include financial support, board service and volunteer assistance. In 2019, we were ranked the Phoenix area’s largest corporate philanthropist by the Phoenix Business Journal.

We donated more than $9.8 million to worthwhile causes in 2019. This includes our corporate giving program, which funds organizations that contribute to the vitality of Arizona, with an emphasis on arts & culture, civic & economic development, education & employment, and human services.

Giving back to our communities is an integral part of the APS culture, and our employees donate their time and talents to a wide range of charitable organizations and civic initiatives. We ranked third on the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2019 list of Arizona’s top corporate volunteer programs. In 2019, our employees volunteered an estimated 90,000 hours of time, a value of about $2.3 million, to causes important to them. St. Mary’s Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Habitat for Humanity were the top three organizations where employees volunteered their time.

Our employees sit on the boards of some 300 Arizona community organizations, nonprofit organizations, and industry groups. Employee engagement of this kind not only assists those nonprofits but also produces valuable human-capital development, as volunteerism increases loyalty, performance and job satisfaction while providing employees with professional development opportunities.

Other accomplishments for 2019 include:

  • We contributed $2.3 million to human services organizations that provide such basic needs as food and shelter to their clients.
  • We provided $3 million to fund important education initiatives, $1.6 million of that specifically in STEM education.
  • We hosted more than 100 executive directors and board members at our nonprofit forums around the state. Launched in 2015, we utilize these events to connect with nonprofit leaders by facilitating training on various nonprofit best practices that help our community partners better serve their clients.
  • For the 14th consecutive year, APS and the Phoenix Suns partnered to promote STEM education in Arizona schools by offering $50,000 in teacher grants for hands-on projects focused on STEM subjects. All told, more than $600,000 has been awarded to Arizona teachers through this program.
  • For the second consecutive year, we supported Arizona teachers through our Supply My Class awards program in which 200 Arizona K-12 teachers received $500 each to purchase much-needed classroom supplies.
  • Employees pledged more than $2.4 million in 2019 to our Community Services Fund, which benefits local nonprofit agencies. The company matched that pledge with an additional $1.18 million.

Learn more about our community involvement.

Public Safety

We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of the public. The cornerstone of this commitment is maintaining our assets in a safe condition. In addition, we have a number of programs that educate our customers, first responders and the general public about electrical safety and ensure the safety of contractors working on and around our facilities.

Through instructor-led education programs, outreach to the news media and the use of social media, we raise awareness on topics such as safety around downed electrical wires, maintaining safe working distances around overhead lines and responding appropriately if unsafe electrical equipment conditions are found. We also provide electrical safety education programs to increase public awareness about electricity and electrical equipment. We reach thousands of Arizonans each year with our electrical safety trailer presentations, which provide live demonstrations of the dangers of electricity showing controlled arc and fault currents flashes to those attending. In 2019, our electrical safety presentations and electrical safety trailer delivered safety messaging that reached more than 10,500 first responders, contractors, members of the public and municipal, state and county workers.

We continue to partner with Arizona 811 (a state regulatory-driven excavation staking service) and participated in over 20 damage-prevention seminars throughout the state in 2019.

Other accomplishments for 2019 include the following:

  • Performed more than 225 public safety field investigations.
  • Participated in many industry safety committee meetings with our community partners.
  • Reviewed and inspected more than 100 right of way/easement encroachment issues.

Learn more about our public safety efforts.

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