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A state official is considering whether to recommend deregulating private utility companies in Arizona.

The possible deregulation of local utilities has been debated in the public sphere for more than a decade. Now, the Residential Utility Consumer Office is preparing its recommendations on the issue before a latest public debate begins this October.

The meeting, which included input from Arizona residents, was productive for both opponents and advocates of deregulation, said Patrick Quinn, director of the Residential Utility Consumer Office.

"The majority of the residents we've heard from are not really in favor of deregulation because of what they've seen go on in other industries," Quinn said. "What we wanted to do...is not make it such an emotional issue. Let's get the facts in this, and see if it's going to be a good thing for residents, customers and the state..."

Quinn says he expects the department to release its recommendations by mid-September.