Our multifaceted approach to community engagement includes building meaningful relationships that help us manage our social and environmental impacts and make investments in the communities where we do business.

APS initiates and maintains relationships with stakeholders and other influencers to understand their communities’ individual 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.

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.

In our 2018 Community Leader Survey, which gauges the health of our community engagement, 94% of respondents said the relationship with their primary APS contact positively impacts their opinion of the company, and 91% were “very satisfied” with their primary contact at APS.

Among our community engagement highlights in 2018:

  • Hosted a Community Partnership Summit in Phoenix that attracted more than 100 attendees representing 71 nonprofit and government organizations that serve limited-income populations across Arizona.
  • Joined with representatives from higher education, regional economic development and government for the second 4 Corners Future Forum in New Mexico. The event attracted economic developers, civic leaders, tribal council representatives and concerned citizens to discuss next steps to meet the region’s economic challenges ahead.
  • Held four APS 101/Energy Update sessions to inform community leaders and solicit their opinions about APS and energy issues facing Arizona.
  • Conducted 14 APS All-Star Clinics across Arizona to provide baseball and softball instruction for youth and seniors.

Public Safety

APS is 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 and the general public about electrical safety and ensure the safety of contractors working on and around our facilities.

Through outreach to the news media and using social media, we raise awareness of 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 programs to increase public awareness about electricity and electrical equipment. We reach thousands of Arizonans each year with our electrical safety trailer presentations as well as classroom and live demonstrations of the dangers of electricity. In 2018, our electrical safety presentations and electrical safety trailer reached more than 7,900 first responders, contractors, members of the public and municipal, state and county workers.

We continue to partner with Arizona 811 (an excavation notification service) and participated in 26 damage-prevention seminars throughout the state in 2018. In addition, our Benjamin FranKlown program brings age-appropriate messages about electrical safety to more than 5,000 students across Arizona each year.

Other accomplishments for 2018 include the following:

  • We performed more than 245 public safety field investigations in 2018.
  • Serving on more than 35 safety committee meetings with our community partners.
  • Reviewed and inspected more than 107 Right of Way/Easement encroachment issues.

Learn more about Public Safety.

Economic Development

For the past 26 years, the APS Economic Development department has worked with state, regional and community partners to attract, expand and grow business and industry in Arizona. In addition to supporting these partners and existing customers, the department also focuses on community and entrepreneurial support to further create a solid foundation for businesses to invest and grow in the state.

Our recruitment efforts target base industries such as manufacturing and finance, corporate headquarters, healthcare, data centers and other companies that offer competitive wages and benefits. Attracting companies in these sectors boosts the Arizona economy and helps grow our customer base.

In 2018, 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 17 new and expanding companies to the APS service territory, creating an estimated 3,800 new jobs and driving more than $1.3 billion in capital investment. Collectively, these projects will add approximately 43 new megawatts of power to the APS system when they come online. Highlights for the year include companies such as UPS, Andersen Windows, Nationwide Reality Investors, Printpack, Inc., Martech Medical Products and Nikola Motors.

Learn more about Economic Development.

Philanthropy and Volunteerism

APS is 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 2018, APS was ranked the Phoenix area’s largest corporate philanthropist by the Phoenix Business Journal.

APS donated more than $10.8 million to worthwhile causes in 2018. This includes our corporate giving, which funds organizations that contribute to the vitality of Arizona, with an emphasis on civic and economic development, human services, environment, education, and arts and culture.

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. APS was ranked third by the Phoenix Business Journal on its 2018 list of Arizona’s top corporate volunteer programs. In 2018, our employees volunteered 121,000 hours of time, a value of about $2.97 million to Arizona community partners. Our employees also sit on the boards of some 300 Arizona nonprofit organizations. Employee engagement of this kind produces valuable human-capital development, as volunteerism increases loyalty, performance and job satisfaction while providing employees with professional development opportunities.

Other accomplishments for 2018 include:

  • APS provided $3.6 million to fund important education initiatives, $2.4 million of that specifically in STEM education.
  • For the 13th consecutive year, APS and the Phoenix Suns partnered to promote STEM education in Arizona schools by offering $50,000 in grants for hands-on projects focused on STEM subjects. All told, more than $600,000 has been awarded to Arizona teachers through this program.
  • APS launched its Supply My Class awards program in which 1,000 Arizona K-8 teachers received $500 each to purchase classroom supplies.
  • Employees pledged more than $2.4 million in 2018 to our Community Services Fund that benefits local nonprofit agencies. The company matched that pledge with an additional $1.2 million (50 cents for every dollar donated).

Learn more about APS Community Involvement.

Sustainable Supply Chain

APS is a founding member of the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance (EUISSCA), a coalition of utilities that work together to advance sustainability best practices in utility supply chain activities and supplier networks. This alliance allows us to gain valuable insight from our peer utilities.

In 2018, EUISSCA members extended memberships to Supplier Affiliates to further develop sustainable best practices. In addition, The Sustainability Project was launched, housing best practice case studies as well as survey results encouraging continuous improvement opportunities for utility members and suppliers.

Within APS, supply chain sustainability enables us to manage risks and commit to protecting the environment and the communities from which we source goods and services. An updated evaluation bid matrix with an added sustainability criteria is now being used, which provides weighting for suppliers that are diverse and/or local. It also recognizes efforts in environmental impact awareness, aligning with our commitment to sustainability.

Because our company cannot excel without suppliers, we host an annual Key Supplier Forum and Awards each year where exceptional suppliers are recognized for their efforts. To be eligible for the award, each supplier must show their commitment and alignment with our core values and critical areas of focus, including environment and community. An Environmental Stewardship award is presented to suppliers whose contributions transcend the contractual and regulatory obligations to preserve the environment.

In alignment with our commitment to environmental protection and continuous improvement, we participate and disclose our awareness and management of supply chain emissions and water usage through various third-party rating firms.

Learn more about EUISSCA.

Supplier Safety and Security

Safety is a core value for APS, and we expect our suppliers to meet or exceed our safety standards. Our objective is to ensure overall site safety so our employees, contractors and the public are not harmed. We use a third-party organization that scores contractors based on their previous safety performance. This data is used as part of supplier selection and bid evaluation processes, ensuring that the contractors we work with share our commitment to safety.  As part of the critical focus area, all suppliers are required to review and comply with the safety manual, accident prevention manual and safety orientation prior to bid submissions. Safety performance is monitored throughout the course of the contracted work, with required meetings and corrective action plans established should potential issues arise. Further, all suppliers are required to review and adhere to the supplier ethical conduct before engaging with APS.

Learn more about our safety resources and expectations for suppliers.

In addition, all suppliers are required to adhere to security and data privacy standards, follow industry best practices and applicable regulations. By evaluating suppliers’ internal controls and monitoring reputation and financial standing, we further protect sensitive information. Our Data Privacy and Supply Chain teams ensure the company is protected by requiring that contracts with new and existing partners account for cybersecurity. All suppliers are required to have effective security practices and controls in place, and we work with these partners to ensure our customers are protected from potential third-party data loss.

Diverse Suppliers

APS regards supplier diversity as an integral and sustainable element of our business. The majority of our diverse suppliers are local-based, which reinforces our economic development efforts in Arizona. A diverse roster of suppliers strengthens our business and provides an opportunity to gain innovative ideas from suppliers that reflect our customer base. Adding diverse suppliers to our sourcing mix increases competition, drives innovation and value, and strengthens our community.

The APS Supplier Diversity and Development (SDD) program has helped to enable $300 million in spending with diverse suppliers for the fifth consecutive year, and since its inception in 1992, the SDD program has helped to enable more than $3.4 billion in spending with diverse businesses.

We also take a proactive approach to developing diverse suppliers. Our Diverse Supplier Training Program is a nine-month course that provides diverse business owners with the knowledge and skills to be successful working with the utility industry and is starting its 21st class.

Learn more about APS Supplier Diversity programs.

Other accomplishments for 2018 include the following:

  • CEO Don Brandt was awarded the Maverick Award by the Herozona Foundation for his significant impact on veterans in the Arizona business community.
  • APS was awarded the HIRE Vets Medallion Award presented by the U.S. Department of Labor, recognizing our standard of excellence in veteran hiring.
  • Two diverse suppliers were recognized at the 2018 Supplier Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance in customer service and environmental stewardship.

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