APS CEO Don Brandt Breaks Silence, Agrees to Appear Before Regulators

Arizona Public Service CEO Don BrandtEXPAND
Arizona Public Service CEO Don Brandt
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Arizona Public Service CEO Don Brandt agreed on Friday to appear before Arizona Corporation Commissioners and answer questions about how and when the state's largest utility cuts off power to its customers.

He just doesn't want to do it on the five commissioners' schedule.

The commissioners asked Brandt on July 19 to come before them on August 7 to answer a list of 67 questions about APS' shutoff policies, after the utility's disconnections were found to have contributed to customer deaths.

A week later, Brandt responded.

"I will make myself available to answer your questions and will bring with me the appropriate senior subject matter experts," he wrote. "I do, however, respectfully request additional time to fully prepare the answers to your extensive questions."

He offered to "make myself and my team available on a later date of your choosing."

Commissioners have not yet publicly responded to Brandt's request for an extension.

Friday's letter from Brandt marks the first time that this powerful executive has responded publicly since news broke in mid-June that 72-year-old Stephanie Pullman died in her home last September after APS shut off her power on a 107-degree day.

Calls immediately sounded for Brandt to be held accountable for her death. Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts wrote that Brandt should lose his job over Pullman's death.

Brandt, who made $12 million last year and has described himself as "being the spokesperson, so to speak, for the company," stayed silent.

A week after that news emerged, Brandt received a prestigious award from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce recognizing his "accomplishments and commitment to Arizona."

Despite protests outside the Phoenix Art Museum as he was slated to receive the award, he issued no comment.

Earlier that day, a spokesperson and an attorney for APS avoided questions from 12 News reporter Joe Dana about why Brandt wasn't answering questions, even after he doggedly pursued them to their cars.

APS subsequently disclosed that in the last decade it had settled with the families of two other customers who died after their electricity was disconnected.

The commissioners' 67 questions to Brandt are extensive.

They cover APS' current shutoff procedures, practices, and protections; APS' reporting shutoff information to the CorpComm; and its rates. They also home in on customer deaths, asking why Pullman's power was disconnected two days after she paid $125 toward her balance, and whether or not she had been properly notified of the pending shutoff.

Eleven of those questions are directed, by name, at Brandt. "Did you, Mr. Brandt, approve APS's disconnect policy?" one question asks. "If no, who did?" 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.