Tucson Electric Power is proposing a rate increase that would amount to about $3 a month for most residential customers.

The proposal is up for consideration at Tuesday’s Arizona Corporation Commission meeting, following a public hearing.

It would be TEP's first rate increase since 2007, and it is lower than originally proposed. It came about as part of negotiations with a dozen businesses and business organizations that opposed the higher increase.

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The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, which was not part of the negotiation, agrees that the increase is necessary, said Jeff Schlegel, the project's Arizona representative. The group promotes energy conservation measures in Arizona and elsewhere.

The increase should not be applied to the fixed service charges on a customer’s bill, Schlegel said.

“It’s better to keep the rate increase in the energy portion of the bill because in that portion of the bill customers could change their habits or increase their energy efficiency, and in doing so they could actually avoid the rate increase or mitigate the effect of the rate increase,” he said.

The commission’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and the Tucson Electric Power proposal is the third item on the regular agenda.

To voice an opinion on the proposed rate increase during the public hearing, call 800 689-9374, and enter the pass code 415962.