News Release      
  For Immediate Release | 7-20-18      
  Media Contact | Nick Debus      
  Direct | 602-542-0728      
  E-Mail | ndebus@azcc.gov      
         
 

Arizona Corporation Commission July Open Meeting Highlights

 
 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission today held its monthly Open Meeting to discuss and vote on various water, electric, railroad, and tax reform agenda items. Here’s a brief recap of the meeting highlights:

Rate Case Finalized for Liberty Utilities – Litchfield Park Water and Wastewater Services

Commissioners approved a rate case application for water and wastewater services in the West Valley. Liberty Utilities (Litchfield Park Water & Sewer) Corp. filed an application last February requesting to establish the fair value of its plant and property used for public water and wastewater utility service. The application also asked for approval of customer rate increases for water and wastewater services.

Liberty Litchfield Park is a class A water and wastewater utility that provides service in Maricopa County, Arizona. The utility serves approximately 18,500 water customers and approximately 17,600 wastewater customers.

Commissioners agreed with an Administrative Law Judge recommendation to require the refund of $2,942,337 to wastewater customers to account for unreported revenue and third-party contributions collected by the utility over more than 10 years. This Commissioner-mandated plan will include the issuance of refund checks to current customers within 30-days of new rates and an audit of the Company’s books and records. The Company was also directed to locate prior customers that have since left the system and to issue refunds to these customers.

Through an amendment presented by Commissioner Olson, Commissioners denied the utility’s request for recovery of corporate bonuses. The amendment adopts the Residential Utility Consumer Office’s (RUCO) recommendation to “deny entirely the parent company’s executive and officer’s bonuses.”

During Thursday’s vote, Commissioners approved a monthly bill decrease for water customers and a monthly bill increase for wastewater customers. An amendment offered by Commissioner Burns and supported by all Commissioners required, Corporation Commission staff to recalculate these figures and post an updated rate structure to the docket. Commissioner Burns’ amendment will result in lower rates than those contained in the Recommended Opinion and Order. All documents related to the Liberty Utilities (Litchfield Park Water & Sewer) Corp. may be found in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at http://azcc.gov and entering docket numbers SW-01428A-17-0058 and W-01427A-17-0059.

Emergency financing application approved for Monte Vista Water Co, LLC.

Commissioners approved an emergency financing application and customer rate increase for Monte Vista Water Co., LLC. The class E utility serves 34 residential customers in the Monte Vista Trailer Park in Douglas, Arizona. The company sought a Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) loan to replace a failing pressure tank with booster pumps, add a storage tank, and bring its electrical system up to code. The Commission’s decision authorizes Monte Vista Water Co., L.L.C. to obtain a 20-year amortizing loan from WIFA at an annual interest rate not to exceed 4.0 percent, in an amount not to exceed $159,991. Commissioners authorized the utility to charge an emergency surcharge once the loan is obtained, on an interim basis, to customers to fund the debt service on the loan.

All documents related to Monte Vista Water Co., LLC’s application may be found in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at http://azcc.gov and entering docket number W-02703A-18-0130.

Commissioners approve staff recommended rate increase for Gonzalez Utility Service, LLC.

In a unanimous vote, Commissioners approved a judge’s Recommended Order to increase rates and pay for a new emergency repair and replacement fund surcharge for Gonzalez Utility Service, formerly Carter Water Company. The company is a Class E utility serving approximately 11 customers in an area located southeast of Coolidge, Arizona.

Corporation Commission staff recommended the new rates, with the repair and replacement surcharge, following a formal rate case that started in January 2018. The decision made Thursday will increase a customer’s median bill by $15.54, or 24.8%, from $67.72 to $78.26.

All documents related to Gonzalez Utility Service, LLC may be found in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at http://azcc.gov and entering docket number W-20940A-18-0031.

Multiple Utility Companies Pass Tax Act Savings on to Ratepayers:

  • Southwest Gas Corporation – the Company filed an application to establish a tax saving refund process to address the implications of the 2017 Tax Act. Staff the savings to be approximately $20 million annually. The average residential customer of the utility will see a one-time bill credit of $5.77 and an ongoing monthly bill credit of $0.82.
  • Liberty Utility Corp.
    • Litchfield Park Water and Sewer – Staff estimates savings resulting from the Tax Act to be approximately $694,217 for the water division and $508,256 for the sewer division.  Water division customers will see a one-time bill credit of $13.09 and a reduction of $1.87 in the fixed monthly charge. Sewer division customers will see a one-time bill credit of $16.17 and a monthly bill credit of $2.31.
    • Bella Vista Water – Staff estimates that savings resulting from the Tax Act to be approximately $208,572. Average residential water customers will see a one-time bill credit of $9.03 and a $1.29 reduction in the fixed monthly charge.
    • Gold Canyon Sewer – Staff estimates that savings resulting from the Tax Act to be approximately $208,417. Average residential sewer customers will see a one-time bill credit of $21.07 and a $3.01 reduction in the fixed monthly charge.
    • Black Mountain Sewer – Staff estimates that savings resulting from the Tax Act to be approximately $72,882. Average residential sewer customers will see a one-time bill credit of $17.08 and a $2.44 reduction in the fixed monthly charge.
    • Rio Rico Water and Sewer – Staff estimates that the savings resulting from the Tax Act to be approximately $189,600 for the water division and $95.258 for the sewer division. Average residential water customers will see a one-time bill credit of $14.91 and a $2.13 reduction in the fixed monthly charge. Average residential sewer customers will see a one-time bill credit of $25.41 and an ongoing monthly bill credit of $3.63.
  • Vail Water Company – the Company estimates its savings as a result of the Tax Act to be approximately $10,186 per year, and it estimates collecting $2,488 in tax savings from its customers between January and March 2018. Average residential customers will see a one-time bill credit for the January through March period of $0.60. The Company estimates that for the period of April through July 2018 it collected $27,579 in income taxes. Customers with a monthly usage of 6,720 gallons will see a one-time bill credit of $6.46.
  • Rio Verde Utilities, Inc. – the Company estimates that its savings resulting from the Tax Act to be approximately $98,124 for the water division and $82,544 for the wastewater division. Average residential water customers will see a one-time bill credit of $6.49, while average residential wastewater customers will see a one-time bill credit of $13.43.

All documents related to the above agenda items can be found in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at http://edocket.azcc.gov and entering the following docket numbers:

 

A complete list of agenda items and a broadcast of the Commissioner’s July Open Meeting is available on the Corporation Commission’s website: http://azcc.gov/live.

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ABOUT US
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 azcc.gov.