For Immediate Release | 4-24-19      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  E-Mail | hward@azcc.gov      
         
 

Arizona Corporation Commission April 24 Open Meeting Highlights

 
 
PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission today held the second day of its monthly Open Meeting followed by a Staff Meeting to discuss and vote on various water, electric, railroad, and tax reform agenda items. Here is a brief recap of the meeting highlights.

Payson Water Co., Inc. Rate Increase Approved

Commissioners approved 3-2 the application from Payson Water Co., Inc. that sought approval for a determination of fair value of its utility plants and property and for increases in rates and charges for utility service. Commissioner Olson offered two amendments that failed by a 2-3 vote. The first would have limited the company's post test year plant and the second would have imposed a three year phase-in of the rates. Due to the failure of those amendments, Commissioners Olson and Tobin voted against the Recommended Opinion and Order.

Payson Water Co., Inc. is a Class D water utility providing service through eight independent water systems to over 1,100 customers in portions of Gila County. Due to chronic water supply issues, the company previously sought and obtained Commission approval for financing to fund an interconnection of its Mesa Del Caballo system to the town of Payson in order to supplement its water supply. The Commission ordered the cost of the interconnection be borne entirely by Mesa Del Caballo customers. Additionally, Payson Water Co., Inc. was granted financing approval to move forward with its second step to address water supply issues, a participatory buy-in to Salt River Project and Payson's Cragin Reservoir Pipeline Project. This is a joint effort between Salt River Project and the Town of Payson to provide a new drinking water supply for Payson. Because of these approved financing projects, Payson Water Co., Inc. applied for and received approval for a new surcharge for Mesa Del Caballo customers of approximately $10.37 per month to continue moving forward with the pipeline project. When the new surcharge goes into effect, the current loan surcharge of $6.76 will end.

Under the approved application, all water systems, except Gisela, with the average monthly usage of 2,520 gallons would see a monthly bill increase of approximately $15.81. The Gisela system services many customers that engage in agriculture and raising livestock and therefore those customers have a higher average monthly usage than customers of other systems. Gisela customers with the average monthly usage of 4,468 gallons will see a monthly bill increase of approximately $28.23.

Commissioner Kennedy offered an amendment that was approved requiring the company to file tariffs for bill reductions for qualified low income and a deployed service member customers of the utility.

All documents related to this agenda item can be found in the Corporation Commissions online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov and entering docket number W-03514A-18-0230.

Commissioners Discuss and Vote on Proposed PURPA Policy Update

Commissioners on a 2-2-1 vote failed to advance Commissioner Tobin's proposed amendment to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). Commisioners Tobin and Olson voted in favor of the amendment, Chairman Burns and Commissioner Kennedy voted against, and Commissioner Dunn abstained citing a desire not to prejudge the issue.

Commissioners held a robust discussion about a proposed update from Commissioner Tobin to the Corporation Commission's PURPA policy. Commissioner Tobin held a recent workshop to discuss an update to the policy, specifically contract term lengths, to determine whether the Commission could move forward in a way that would not interfere with three tariff applications from Arizona Public Service Company, Tucson Electric Power Company, and UNS Electric, Inc. that are scheduled for a hearing in November.

A Qualifying Facility is any energy-producing facility within a host electric utility's service territory that has a right to sell to and be served by the host utility. Host utilities are required to purchase power from Qualifying Facilities at the avoided cost. Qualifying Facilities and utility companies were seeking clarification to the determination of contract term lengths, with the Qualifying Facilities wanting the determination before they make large investments in the state. Commissioner Tobin has advanced this topic in hopes that clarifying the policy will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into rural Arizona before a tax credit incentive expires this coming fall.

All items related to this agenda item can be found in the Corporation Commission's online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov and entering docket number E-00000Q-19-0015.

Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Coop, Inc. Amendment Approved

Commissioners voted to amend two decisions on Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Coop, Inc. The electric utility company is an Arizona non-profit, member-owned cooperative headquartered in Willcox. It provides electric distribution service to approximately 49,000 customers in parts of Cochise, Santa Cruz, Pima, and Graham Counties. Commissioners today approved modifications which would authorize the use of remaining amounts previously authorized by the Corporation Commission for prior construction work plans in future plans. The cooperative is not seeking an increase of financing authorization.

All documents related to this agenda item can be found in the Corporation Commission's online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov and entering docket numbers E-01575A-07-0446 and E-01575A-10-0311.

A complete list of agenda items and a broadcast of the Commissioner's April Open Meeting is available on the Corporation Commission's website: https://www.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 Corporation Commission is Arizona's co-equal, fourth branch of government. 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 https://www.azcc.gov.