From the Office of Commissioner Andy Tobin

  For Immediate Release | 5-23-18      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  E-Mail | hward@azcc.gov      
         
 

Commissioner Tobin Issues Dissent Letter

 
 

PHOENIX — In a letter posted to the Corporation Commission’s online docket, Commissioner Andy Tobin made his public dissent on a recent Commission vote extending the monopoly territory of a Phoenix-area utility.

Liberty Utilities (Litchfield Park Water & Sewer) Corp. came before the Corporation Commission on April 26, 2018, to apply for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N). Liberty Utilities provides public water and wastewater utility service in communities within Litchfield Park, Goodyear, and Avondale as well as unincorporated areas of Maricopa County. The utility company has approximately 18,500 water customers and approximately 17,600 wastewater customers.

In a rate case the company initiated in February 2017, the utility admits to over-collecting more than $2.5 million from its Litchfield Park customers. Tobin acknowledges the case is ongoing however, the parties appear to have reached a stipulation as to a refund amount for these customers. Overall, Commissioner Tobin is concerned with the company’s fitness and ability to receive the requested monopoly territory.

Commissioner Tobin voted against the Recommended Opinion and Order in April when Liberty Utilities sought Commissioner approval to provide wastewater utility service to the Russell Ranch South development located in Maricopa County. At the time, Tobin expressed concerns the company should address before potentially serving more customers that could be overcharged.

“There are substantial questions as to the basis for conclusion of Law No. 5 and I believe the Commission should have refrained from voting until those questions were resolved,” stated Tobin in the letter. He goes on to write, “Conclusion of Law No. 5 in the Hearing Division’s Recommended Opinion and order states, “Liberty is a fit and proper entity to receive a CC&N to provide wastewater service in the proposed extension area.”

Commissioner Tobin says he supports development where it makes sense but also feels the developers have an obligation to ensure future homebuyers are served by a trustworthy and competent water service provider. By law, the Corporation Commission has this obligation.

“Viewing the above portions of testimony in a light most favorable to the Company, I still believe those questions of “fit and proper” persist and that the Commission should have refrained from deciding until all the remaining issues were resolved,” wrote Tobin. “For that reason, I voted “no” and respectfully dissent.” 

Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of granting the requested extension of territory.

View a copy of Commissioner Tobin’s dissent letter associated with the Commission order here: http://images.edocket.azcc.gov/docketpdf/0000188524.pdf.

View all documents related to Liberty Utilities’ CC&N application in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at http://edocket.azcc.gov under docket number SW-01428A-17-0259

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About Commissioner Andy Tobin:


Commissioner Andy Tobin was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2006 and served as Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2014. He was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to fill a vacant seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2015 and elected to serve a full term in 2016. During this time, Commissioner Tobin has focused on getting broadband (internet) connections into rural Arizona schools, been instrumental in establishing the Water Emergency Team to proactively protect Arizona’s water supply, and recently introduced the Arizona Energy Modernization Plan calling for 80 percent of the state’s electricity generation to come from clean energy by 2050.

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit
www.azcc.gov