News Release      
  For Immediate Release | 2-7-18      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  E-Mail | hward@azcc.gov      
         
 
February Open Meeting Brief
 
 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission held its monthly Open Meeting Tuesday to discuss and vote on various water, electric, and tax reform agenda items.

Tuesday’s meeting agenda may be found on the Corporation Commission website along with a complete recording of the meeting on our website http://azcc.gov/live, view this under the Archived Videos/Open Meetings tab. Here’s a brief recap of meeting highlights:

Salt River Project Application to Extend Certificate of Environmental Compatibility
Salt River Project and Resolution Copper Project came before Commissioners Tuesday to ask for an extension to its transmission line siting deadline as a requirement of its Certificate of Environmental Compatibility. The copper mine is in development in Pinal County. When completed, the utility says it will be the largest producing underground mine in North America and one of the largest in the world. The mine is projected to produce billions of dollars of economic and fiscal impact for Arizona and the nation.

“Thank you for helping us take one more important step forward to make this mine a meaningful, long term economic driver for the copper triangle, the State of Arizona and the United States,” said Vicky Peacey, Senior Manager Environment, Permitting and Approvals.

Chairman Tom Forese acknowledged the impact this would have on Arizona’s economy stating, “This is an exciting project.” Following a Commission vote, Chairman Forese directed Corporation Commission staff to prepare a conforming order to extend the timeline to October 16, 2027.

For more information on this item, please see Corporation Commission Docket L-00000B-12-0277-00166.

Commission Inquiry into Possible Modification of the Federal Income Tax Reform Rate Adjustment
Following Commissioner Olson’s January 31 Utility Tax Reform Workshop, Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the requirement of all public service corporations listed in the docket to address ratemaking impacts resulting from recent federal tax reform. Commissioners say the end goal is clear: ensure all utility customers receive tax benefits by requiring utility companies to pass on any financial gains made from the new tax cuts to their ratepayers. Affected utility companies have 60 days to file appropriate information with the Corporation Commission to address how they will incorporate the impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law late last year.

For more information on this item, please see Corporation Commission Docket AU-00000A-17-0379.

Arizona Water Company Customers to Receive Utility Tax Rate Refund
In its first approved tax reform utility rate adjustment, the Corporation Commission voted unanimously to refund Arizona Water Company Eastern Group customers a total of $154,257 in income tax expense credit. Customers should expect to see a one-time bill credit in March ranging from $2.36 to $3.78 depending on the service area. The decision was part of a settlement agreement for Arizona Water Company’s Eastern Group where the utility agreed to reduce the settlement revenue requirement increase from the originally requested $4.2 million, or 18 percent, to $3.1 million, or 13 percent, to account for the lower corporate income tax expense. Customer bills will then be reduced each month by the difference in the corporate tax rate. This will take effect March 1, 2018.

For more information on this item, please see Corporation Commission Docket W-01445A-16-0443.

Investigation into the Pattern of Water Outages for Sunizona Water Company
In September 2017, Commissioner Andy Tobin requested an investigation into water outages occurring in Pearce, Arizona. Arizona Corporation Commission staff investigated the water outages and conducted an overall assessment of the utility Sunizona Water Company. During this time, staff concluded the electrical service line needs to be replaced and until it is replaced, the risk of an outage continues. Commissioners voted to approve the staff recommendation to add a compliance item in the docket to require the company to docket proof of replacement and repairs to faulty equipment by March 31, 2018.

For more information on this item, please see Corporation Commission Docket W-00000C-17-0271.

Arizona Water Company Application to Extend its Existing Certificate of Convenience and Necessity
Commissioners voted to approve Arizona Water Company’s application to extend its existing CC&N in Casa Grande and Pinal County, Arizona. This agenda item covers long-disputed water rights in southern Arizona. Arizona Water Company, Cornman Tweedy 560, LLC, and the Corporation Commission’s Utilities Division staff have been engaged in settlement discussion since April 5, 2017, to determine whether Arizona Water Company should continue to hold rights to provide water service within the area. The utility does not currently provide water service to any residents in the region.

The settlement agreement approved Tuesday resolves who owns the rights to provide water service to an undeveloped 1,100-acre area in Pinal County. Last year, Commissioners voted to approve a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CC&N) to Arizona Water Company. Originally voting to award the CC&N to Arizona Water Company, Commissioner Andy Tobin reconsidered his vote and asked the Commission staff to work with both parties to come to an agreement.

Commissioner Tobin filed a request to the docket in January to ask the parties to mutually agree upon an extension of five years for related CC&N’s and a final CC&N for the disputed parcel of undeveloped land for Arizona Water as an acceptable resolution. The parties returned to discussions and presented a final settlement agreement to benefit its utility customers for Commissioner approval Tuesday.

Commissioner Dunn asked all parties to the settlement whether their settlement talks were voluntary, in good faith, and with full disclosure. The parties said, “yes” and further agreed the settlement terms voted on Tuesday were fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the parties.

Commissioner Burns challenged Tuesday’s vote with an amendment to return to the original Commissioner vote on the CC&N last year. A majority of commission votes overruled the amendment by a vote of 3-2. The overall agenda item, with presented agreed upon amendments, passed with a 4-1 vote.

For more information on this item, please see Corporation Commission Docket W-01445A-03-0559.

Commissioner meetings are held each month at the Corporation Commission offices, 1200 West Washington St., Phoenix 85007. View the 2018 Open Meeting schedule on our website: http://bit.ly/2EpTz5D.

 

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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 http://azcc.gov.