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The Latest: APS lawyer says federal investigation continues

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on Arizona Public Service executives testifying before utility regulators (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

A lawyer for Arizona Public Service says a federal criminal investigation into the utility’s political spending is still active.

Attorney Bill Maledon said company officials expect it will wrap up soon. He did not elaborate. Maledon says APS is prohibited from discussing details of the probe because of grand jury secrecy rules and agreements with investigators.

Maledon disclosed the continuing investigation during a hearing at the Arizona Corporation Commission. The state’s utility regulators are grilling APS executives over political spending and power disconnection policies.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix are investigating spending in the 2014 elections for secretary of state and corporation commission. APS parent company Pinnacle West Capital Corp. has disclosed that it’s received subpoenas in the investigation.

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10:45

State utility regulators lit into top executives from Arizona Public Service at the start of a hearing on power disconnection rules and political spending.

Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Burns said Wednesday that APS orchestrated a wide-ranging plan to take control of the commission and sew discord. He also says Gov. Doug Ducey inappropriately interfered in the commission’s business.

Earlier this year APS detailed millions of dollars of political spending to help elect it’s favored regulators and defeat a ballot measure that would have required the utility to deploy more renewable energy. The company is also under fire after a woman died when her power was shut off in triple-digit heat.

Commissioner Sandra Kennedy says APS chief Don Brandt has acted like a kingpin running the company to enrich himself.

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This update has been corrected to show that Don Brandt is the chief of APS, not Bob Burns.

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9:30 a.m.

State utility regulators are scheduled to grill outgoing Arizona Public Service chief Don Brandt after a woman died when her power was shut off in triple-digit heat.

The Arizona Corporation Commission is also expected to question Brandt Wednesday about political spending by APS and its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

APS has stopped disconnecting power this summer after a woman died a year ago when her power was shut off on a 107-degree day.

Under fire from elected commissioners, APS detailed millions of dollars it funneled to back favored candidates for the commission in the 2014 and 2016 elections. APS spent nearly $40 million opposing a 2018 initiative that would have required the utility to use more renewable energy.

Brandt is retiring in November.

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