Customer Satisfaction | Customer Technology Solutions | Limited-Income Offerings

Updated: March 2022

We're committed to serving with a customer-centric mindset, and providing customers with a frictionless experience at every touch point. To help us achieve an industry-leading customer experience (CX), we developed a CX strategy grounded in best practices and instituted a cross-functional CX Strategy Council, and we continue to get direct feedback from our customers through our Customer Advisory Board.

Customer Experience Strategy and Council. In 2021, we developed an overarching customer experience strategy as a framework for how we serve our customers. We will provide a frictionless customer experience at every touch point. To do so, we must be easy to do business with, serve with compassion and build value through the options and solutions we offer our customers. To further drive a customer-centric culture, align around our CX strategy and improve our J.D. Power customer satisfaction performance, we created a fully-integrated CX Strategy Council with 150+ employees – from frontline to executives – representing more than 40 departments.

Through this and other ongoing customer-centric initiatives, we have made enhancements that benefit our customers and communities including: 

  • Enhanced website with streamlined navigation and Spanish language transaction capabilities, an enhanced online power outage center and more than 1 million subscriptions for outage email and text notifications;  
  • Online Marketplace to promote energy-efficiency products, customer education and program participation; 
  • Simplified financial assistance process for customers and community-partner agencies by significantly increasing the customer and financial support provided to them; 
  • More flexible payment arrangements for customers as well as new payment options;  
  • Broad-reaching ad campaign focused on energy efficiency and financial-assistance programs in English and Spanish.

Customer Advisory Board. In an effort to enhance our customer interactions and create an exchange of ideas with our customers, we established a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) in 2020. This group met regularly in 2021 to inform us of customer needs, wants and perspectives. Its direct feedback facilitated improved analysis, education and communication to customers about rate plan options, rate names and related communications. Additionally, the CAB helped shape ongoing redesign and enhancements to APS’s monthly bill based on customer feedback, research and industry best practices.  

Customer Satisfaction

APS measures customer satisfaction results through the J.D. Power Electric Utility Residential Study and the J.D. Power Electric Utility Business Study.

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In 2021, our fourth-quarter overall customer satisfaction score in the residential J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Rating advanced to the third-quartile, and we made year-over-year improvements in several key areas important to customers, including power quality and reliability, billing and payment, and phone customer care. We also were named a 2021 Business Customer Champion by international market research firm Escalent. It recognized us as one of the top performing electric utilities in the nation for brand trust, product experience, service satisfaction and customer effort score for business customers.

Customer Technology Solutions

Technologies such as rooftop solar, smart thermostats and energy efficiency measures have given customers more power to control their energy usage and potentially reduce their costs. As more emerging technologies, such as energy storage devices, become commercially viable, they will continue to change how customers interact with us.

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By being proactive and working with our customers to identify and respond to their changing needs, we remain well positioned to deliver value. And by providing customers the opportunity to manage their energy and peak demands, we can expand the use and understanding of load-management technologies, encourage customers to use energy during off-peak hours and better align with solar production and system-peak conditions. Taking these innovations to scale isn’t just good for customers and the energy grid, it will help us achieve our bold Clean Energy Commitment.

Customer Programs

Take Charge AZ. In 2018, we launched an innovative pilot program encouraging electric vehicle (EV) adoption by providing charging stations throughout Arizona. Through this program, we will install and own EV charging equipment at various workplace, fleet and multifamily communities, enabling us to gain knowledge that will help facilitate the electrification of the transportation sector. As of year-end 2021, more than 100 sites have been energized since program inception with over 60 sites and 250 plugs energized in 2021. This has enabled charging at businesses, workplaces and municipalities within APS service territory.

  

Solar Communities. In 2018 we launched the Solar Communities program. This program makes solar and its clean-energy benefits available to limited- and moderate-income customers, as well as governments, schools and nonprofits. While the program is currently full, as of year-end, 2021, the program has resulted in the following installations since the programs inception: 

  • 684 limited- and moderate-income household installations  
  • 15 multifamily systems
  • 22 nonprofits, Title I schools and rural or government buildings

Partnerships.To further demonstrate our commitment to the communities we serve, APS partnered with some customers that have participated in the Take Charge AZ and Solar Communities programs to have solar-covered parking canopies and EV charging stations available on-site. These partners include Human Services Campus, the Town of Florence, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Pinal County.

Rewards Programs. Our industry-leading and award-winning demand response, energy storage, and load management programs incentivize customers to adopt advanced technologies in their homes to help consume electricity at midday when solar energy is plentiful, and to conserve power in the late afternoon and early evening when it is in greatest demand and thus costs more. The APS Rewards program includes battery storage (Storage Rewards) and helps to harness the use of thermal storage (Reserve Rewards) through smart water heaters, and smart thermostats (Cool Rewards).

Through our Cool Rewards program, more than 57,000 residential smart thermostats were enrolled, as of the end of January 2022. Customers benefit from incentives, discounts and energy-savings options for voluntarily conserving energy. The program has a capability of shedding more than 80 megawatts of energy from APS’ smart grid. This shift is just one of the strategies and innovative solutions for our customers to collaborate with us to reduce carbon emissions to meet our clean energy goals.

Learn more about our Rewards program accomplishments in our 2021 DSM Annual Report.

Energy Efficiency Programs. With traditional energy efficiency measures such as LED light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances commonplace, we are pursuing the next generation of energy efficiency. The next generation of energy efficiency measures and programs offered for the benefit of our customers include:

  • Rate-optimized smart thermostats to maximize on-peak energy use patterns
  • Connected pool pump pilot that couples energy savings options with potential load shifting and load management 
  • EV-ready pre-wiring, and connected water heating in the Residential New Construction program 
  • Increased funding for the Limited Income Weatherization program, along with specialized home energy reports focused on low-cost and no-cost energy savings tips and program information
  • Standby truck refrigeration, electric forklifts and airport electrification incentives
  • Residential Energy Storage Pilot collects battery performance data and evaluates the technology capability to provide grid support
  • Residential HVAC load shifting pilot optimizes thermostat operation

The energy efficiency standard (EES) set by the Arizona Corporation Commission, requires utilities to achieve cumulative savings equivalent to 22% of 2020 retail sales, which we did accomplish in 2021. Our portfolio of energy efficiency programs provided approximately 319,328 MWh of energy savings for 2021. That is enough energy to power more than 26,352 typical Arizona households for an entire year. Since 2005, the lifetime energy savings from our energy efficiency programs have avoided approximately 23.7 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

APS also continues to provide support to customers adversely affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 DSM plan was designed to assist:

  • Higher funding for limited-income weatherization projects
  • Nonprofit organizations and agencies that provide community health and human services
  • Schools, historic facilities and other cultural sites that are important to the quality of life for Arizonans
  • APS's Trade Allies that provide energy services, as long as they can do the work in a safe manner
  • Local small businesses continue operating through the economic impacts of this pandemic
  • Increased HVAC incentives
  • Mobile app videoconferencing technology to enable trained professionals to conduct virtual home energy audits to identify energy saving opportunities without the need to enter customer homes

Learn more about our Energy Efficiency program accomplishments in our 2021 DSM Annual Report

Recognitions. As we continue to design programs to meet our customer need, we received the following industry awards in 2021: 

  • 2021 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for excellence | Energy efficiency and program delivery
  • 2021 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Power Delivery & Utilization Transfer Award | Identification of key electrification opportunities in the utility service territories by novel application of electrification knowledge base, analytical tools, and robust methods
  • Energy System Integration Group (ESIG) Excellence Award | Leadership in the integration of DER into system planning and operation
  • Finalist 2021 Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Award - Climate Action Solutions | Driving Energy Innovation Forward - APS Solar Communities and Take Charge AZ

Limited Income Offerings

We have assistance programs that provide discounts to qualified limited-income customers as well as programs to help customers stay on top of their bills.

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Crisis Bill Assistance
An unplanned major expense or an unexpected reduction in income can put anybody in a temporary financial bind. Qualified customers can receive up to $800 every 12 months to cover current or past-due APS bills through the Crisis Bill Assistance program. We work closely with agency partners to assure that our limited-income customers can participate in programs to assist them in keeping their power on. When customers seek APS crisis bill assistance from these agencies, they can also check their eligibility for, and enroll in, the APS customer funded Energy Support program. This program offers qualifying limited-income customers a 25% discount before taxes on their monthly bill. In 2022 the ACC approved an increase in the annual funding for Crisis Bill Assistance from $1.25 million to $2.5 million.  At the end of 2021, APS funded $630,000 in customer bill assistance that was distributed through the customer care center to help approximately 6,300 customers. APS also provided $500,000 in additional Crisis Bill funding to an assistance partner for use in 2022. APS promotes other forms of assistance that are available to our customers from the State of Arizona such as the Emergency Rental Assistance, Homeowners Assistance Fund and Low Income Home Energy Assistance programs (LIHEAP).


Healthy Homes Air Conditioning Program. In the Summer of 2021, APS partnered with Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) to start the Healthy Homes Air Conditioning program. It was a small test program that was created to reduce heat-related hazards for vulnerable, low-income households in metropolitan Phoenix. This program provided free repair or replacement of an eligible homeowners’ air conditioning system during the summer. Furthermore, the program included a study to find valuable insights to better understand the benefits and costs of providing emergency air-conditioning repair or replacement assistance to the most heat-vulnerable customers in our community, making their homes safer during the summer months. While limited in scope, the intent was to leverage program impact data to grow its reach.

The eligibility criteria were:

  • Income at, or below, 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Applicant must own the home within Metro Phoenix area
  • Priority will be given to the elderly, people with disabilities, or small children in the home

The program received generous grants from APS, Phoenix IDA nonprofit and Phoenix Community Development and Investment Corporation. APS plans to work with FSL and offer the program again during the 2022 summer and expand to include Yuma and Pinal counties in addition to the Metro Phoenix area.

Learn more about our partnerships to implement heat relief initiatives.

Energy Support
Our Energy Support program is funded at $20 million annually and it has a deferral for any amounts over that where APS can request ACC approval of the funds in a future rate case. We worked with agencies across the state to simplify the process of enrollment in our limited-income program, resulting in approximately 84,600 customers in the program at the end of 2021, an increase of 17% over the prior year. APS continues to enroll qualified customers who have been approved for other assistance programs like LIHEAP. Additional assistance providers have been trained on the APS program and are helping to enroll customers as well. 

Weatherization Assistance
We also provide funding for limited-income home weatherization in partnership with community action agencies throughout Arizona. This weatherization program enables qualified customers to make their homes more energy efficient. In 2021, APS spent $7.98 million to complete limited-income weatherization projects around the state. 

Learn more about our weatherization programs.

Project Share
Through Project SHARE, our customers can join us in giving back to our communities by making tax-deductible contributions when they pay their monthly energy bill. In addition, we match employee contributions to SHARE dollar-for-dollar. This limited-income assistance fund is administered by the Salvation Army. In 2021, customers, employees and APS donated close to $376,000 through Project SHARE. 

Learn more about our limited-income programs.

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