PHOENIX – The Arizona Corporation Commission held its monthly Open Meeting on September 7, 2022, to discuss and vote on various utility and securities items. Highlights from the meeting are below:
Far West Water & Sewer, Inc. Acquired by Foothills Water & Sewer, LLC
Commissioners voted to approve an application from Far West Water & Sewer, Inc. (Far West) and Foothills Water & Sewer, LLC (Foothills) for approval to transfer the water and wastewater Certificates of Convenience & Necessity (CC&N) and utility assets of Far West to Foothills.
The two utilities entered into an asset purchase agreement where Foothills will acquire all of Far West’s service territory. Foothills will retain all Far West employees and will continue to employ one of Far West’s principals for up to one year to help facilitate the transition. Far West will also retain the refund obligation on advances in aid of construction collected through main extension agreements entered into before the purchase agreement closes. Far West’s water system serves approximately 16,237 connections and its wastewater system serves approximately 8,660 connections and its service territory is located in the Fortuna Foothills area east of Yuma, Arizona. Foothills is a new utility in Arizona, that is owned indirectly by Northwest Natural Holdings, a public utility holding company that owns 19 water and wastewater utilities across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Texas.
Navopache Electric Cooperative, Inc. Amended Energy Efficiency Plan Approved
Commissioners voted to approve an amended Electric Energy Efficiency Implementation Plan (EEE Plan) and Demand-Side Management Tariff (DSM) for Navopache Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Navopache). The vote comes after Navopache sought rehearing on the matter in March 2022, which was denied by operation of law. In May 2022 Navopache filed a complaint in Superior Court seeking to modify the decision. A settlement proposal came before the Commission during the August 2022 Staff Open Meeting, which was approved 5-0. Under the settlement proposal Navopache shall file its 2024-2025 EEE Plan by June 1, 2023, which shall include programs designed to achieve a cumulative energy efficiency goal of 2.3-percent for 2024 and 3-percent for 2025. The plan shall also include a commitment to prove programs necessary to attain a 16.5-percent cumulative energy savings by the end of 2034.
Commission Sanctions Promoter of Cryptocurrency Investment Program
The Corporation Commission ordered respondent Jonathan Sifuentes Saucedo of Mexico to pay $70,000 in restitution and a $15,000 administrative penalty for defrauding investors with a cryptocurrency investment program.
The Corporation Commission found Mr. Saucedo mostly promoted the investment program in My Trader Coin (also known as MTCoin), at presentations to groups in hotels, a church, a business office, and at a radio station with broadcasts primarily in Spanish directed at the Latino, Christian community. However, Mr. Saucedo was not registered to offer or sell securities in Arizona.
The Commission found Mr. Saucedo presented to nearly 100 people in one instance, telling them for every $1,000 investment they brought into MTCoin, they would receive 20 percent ($200) back, and urging investors not put their money in a bank where it would just sit.
The Commission found Mr. Saucedo made material misrepresentations and omissions when offering and selling the cryptocurrency investment program, including promising returns of over 300 percent in a year's time and failing to disclose the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments, the risk of investing in a multilevel marketing business with little operation history, and the fact that earlier investors had not been able to withdraw principal and interest as promised.
In settling this matter, Mr. Saucedo neither admits nor denies the Commission’s findings but agrees 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-21066A-18-0415.
Commission Finds Payson Couple Defrauded Elderly Investor
The Corporation Commission ordered Payson residents Lenard and Lori Toye along with their affiliated companies, Wenima Development, LLC, and I Am America (IAA), to pay $72,000 in restitution and a $20,000 administrative penalty for defrauding an elderly investor.
The Commission found that Mr. and Mrs. Toye sold unregistered securities in Wenima Development, LLC, a company that was to develop a 300-acre parcel of land outside of Springerville, Arizona.
The Commission found that, despite having ceased any meaningful business activity related to developing the land, the Toyes sold investment contracts to the elderly investor without disclosing the failed past performance of the company and the lack of current operations or financial information.
The Commission found the Toyes used the investor's funds to dine in restaurants, pay for their residence, make car payments and other expenditures consistent with personal use and not for expenses related to real estate development.
In settling this matter, the Toyes and their affiliated companies 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-21174A-21-0404.