For Immediate Release | 6-9-2021
Media Contact | Nick Debus
E-Mail | NDebus@azcc.gov
PHOENIX – The Arizona Corporation Commission held its monthly Open Meeting on June 8, 2021 to discuss and vote on various securities and utilities items. Below are highlights from the meeting:
Arizona Public Service Company Tribal Communities Energy Efficiency Program Approved
Commissioners voted to approve an application from Arizona Public Service Company (APS) for its Tribal Communities Energy Efficiency Program (Program), which is also included in the company’s Demand-Side Management Implementation Plan.
The Program seeks to assist Navajo and Hopi Tribal Communities that have been impacted by power plant and mine closures in Northeastern Arizona by promoting energy efficiency. As a result of an amendment from Commissioner Sandra D. Kennedy which doubled the amount allocated, APS will commit $1 million annually to implement the Program. The Program will promote all demand-side management programs currently available to residential and non-residential customers.
Some of the program’s incentives include up to $9,000 per dwelling for direct-install weatherization upgrades, do-it-yourself weatherization kits including LED lightbulbs, shower heads, and weatherstripping, non-residential energy audits, and rebate offers for the installation of ductless mini-split heat pump systems. Additionally, APS will engage in a robust customer outreach and education campaign.
Arizona Public Service Company 2021 REST Plan Approved
Commissioners voted to approve Arizona Public Service Company’s (APS) $84.7 million 2021 Renewable Energy Standard Implementation Plan (REST). APS filed its application for its 2021 REST Plan in July 2020, and the application did not propose any new programs. The REST Plan surcharge will collect approximately $68.3 million from APS customers in 2021. The 2021 REST Plan budget is $1.6 million less than the previous year’s plan, and $9.4 million in unallocated funds from the previous year will be rolled over and applied to the 2021 Plan, however, the monthly cap of the residential surcharge was increased from $2.28 per month to $2.56 per month.
APS’s REST Plan consists of various programs accessible by residential and commercial customers. The Arizona Goes Solar Website helps to create awareness of incentives for residential and commercial solar projects. APS Solar Communities allows limited and moderate income residential and non-profit commercial customers serving limited-income populations, Title I schools, and rural government customers to access solar and receive a $30 monthly bill credit for 20 years, provided the solar panels remain on the property. The Green Choice Program which allows residential and commercial customers to select an amount, or percentage, of their energy which comes from renewable sources.
Frontier Communications 911 Service Outages to be Investigated
Commissioners voted to direct Corporation Commission Staff to open a new docket to investigate public health and safety concerns with Frontier Communications 911 service. This action comes after Chairwoman Lea Marquez Peterson filed a letter on June 2, 2021 raising concerns with 911 outages throughout Frontier’s rural Northern Arizona service territory. Following reports of over a hundred hours of 911 outages, the Commission voted to open a docket to investigate causes of these reliability issues. Through the investigation process the Commission will analyze the adequacy of the company’s equipment, including requiring the addition of redundant systems, and develop a plan to remedy 911 outages moving forward.
Commission Finds Tucson Solar Installation Company Owner Defrauded Foreign Investors
The Corporation Commission ordered Charles O’Dowd to pay $7,666,558 in restitution and a $75,000 administrative penalty for fraudulently offering and selling unregistered securities to foreign investors related to his solar thermal and photovoltaic installation company operating in Tucson.
The Corporation Commission found that O’Dowd sold ABCO Energy, Inc.'s securities offerings in the form of common stock and/or convertible preferred stock to 81 foreign investors but was not registered to sell securities in Arizona.
The Commission found Charles O’Dowd sought financing for Tucson-based ABCO Energy, Inc. to grow the company’s photovoltaic and solar thermal business quicker by providing the necessary capital to employ a sales and marketing team and to establish the company as an immediate and long-term leader in the industry.
However, the Commission found O’Dowd failed to disclose that most of the investors’ funds went to pay commissions to solicit foreign investors and was not invested in ABCO Energy, Inc., and its subsidiary ABCO Solar. Also, the Commission found O’Dowd intentionally did not disclose to the investors the Commission’s prior decisions against David Shorey, the former CEO and CFO of ABCO Solar, Inc. and ABCO Energy, Inc.
UNS Electric Golden Valley Transmission Line Project Approved
The Commission approved a line siting application from UNS Electric, LLC (UNS) after UNS received initial approval from the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee, granting UNS approval to construct the Golden Valley 230kV Transmission Line Project. The Golden Valley Project consists of a new 17-mile transmission line in Mohave County, Arizona. UNS will have ten years to complete the project following the Commission’s approval.
Lord Arizona Water Systems, Inc Rate Increase Approved
Commissioners approved a rate increase for Lord Arizona Water Systems, Inc (Lord). Lord is a for-profit Class E water utility providing service near Show Low in Apache County, Arizona to approximately 402 residential customers. The company has not filed a rate case since 1991, except for an application for an emergency rate increase in 2019, which has since been resolved.
Residential customers with a 5/8 x 3/4-inch meter with a median usage of 2,593 gallons per month will see a bill increase of $2.96, from $25.95 to $28.91, or 11.41 percent.
Commission Orders Halt to Affinity Fraud Scheme and $4.5 Million in Restitution for Investors
The Corporation Commission ordered Daniel Goman of Los Angeles, California and his affiliated company OWNZONES Media Network, Inc. to pay $4.5 million in restitution for fraudulently offering and selling unregistered company stock.
The Commission found that because Goman is of Romanian descent, the securities sales in OWNZONES Media Network, Inc. were concentrated among Romanian immigrants and residents of Romania.
The Corporation Commission found that OWNZONES Media Network, Inc. falsified some subscription documents to indicate that investors were accredited investors. Additionally, OWNZONES Media Network, Inc. sent some subscription documents pre-marked to indicate accredited investor status without knowing whether the recipients were accredited investors. The number of non-accredited investors was further obscured by persons referred to as "sub-investors" who invested under the name of existing investors.
Also, the Commission found Goman and his affiliated company failed to disclose to some investors the investment risks and that OWNZONES Media Network, Inc. failed to disclose a then-pending bankruptcy petition by Goman.
In settling this matter, Goman and his affiliated company neither admit nor deny the Commission’s findings but agree to the entry of the consent order.All documents relating to this agenda item can be found in the Corporation Commission's online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov and entering docket number S-21101A-20-0068