State officials are being told that eliminating the monopoly status of regulated utilities that sell electricity to retail customers could either benefit consumers by providing more choices and generating competition, or create turmoil putting those same consumers at risk of having to pay higher rates.

The Arizona Republic reported that advocates on both sides of the issue spoke Tuesday during a workshop held by the state Residential Utility Consumer Office.

The office advocates on behalf of consumers in proceedings involving regulated utilities such as Arizona Public Service Co. and Tucson Electric Power.

Some power companies support deregulation while opponents of deregulation include APS, the state's largest utility.

The Arizona Corporation Commission is expected to hold a public meeting on deregulation by early October.