News Release: From the Office of Commissioner Sandra D. Kennedy

  For Immediate Release | 4-25-19      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  Email | hward@azcc.gov      
 

Setting the record straight on the EPCOR Interim Rate Increase

 
 
The rates approved in the EPCOR interim rate case (docket WS-01303A-19-0011) are all lower than the proposed rates in the EPCOR rate case that ended in a 2-2 tie (docket WS-01303A-17-0257), with Commissioner Sandra D. Kennedy recusing herself. The interim rates were set at a level to "provide sufficient revenues until the next rate case, but not so much more that the Company will earn more than might be approved in EPCOR's next permanent rate case."

There are specific ratepayer benefits approved in the EPCOR interim rate case

Due to the changes brought about by the 2017 federal tax legislation, some of EPCOR's income taxes will be refunded. About $4 million in refunds will be passed on to EPCOR's customers.

The DISABLED MILITARY VETERAN CREDIT PROGRAM was approved. It assists disabled military veterans through a $10 credit on their water bills to recognize the "employment and financial difficulties that these individuals experience after being discharged." To qualify for the program, an individual must provide discharge paperwork from the armed forces indicating any level of disability.

The LOW INCOME PROGRAM was approved. Eligibility is for year-round Arizona residents with income less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Those who qualify will receive $10 discount on their monthly bills and must re-apply every year.

Commissioner Kennedy's amendment to the order requires EPCOR to include cost of service studies for each geographically adjacent or regional district when it files its next rate application to see if rates can be lowered even more.

Since being appointed and then elected to the Commission, Commissioner Tobin has voted for every single rate increase proposed, including the 2017 $95 million APS rate increase, except one where he didn't think it was high enough. Even worse, that was the May 2016 Oatman Water Company, LLC's application for a permanent rate increase. Commissioner Tobin voted against the rate increase because the costs of cleaning up the Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination identified in the Oatman public water wells was identified as a health risk by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Oatman, which has 100 customers, had not been in for a rate increase in 15 years, and was granted a 100% rate increase. Commissioner Tobin did not offer an amendment at the time to the Recommended Opinion and Order to require any additional updates or information about the plans to address the contamination, and three years later, he still hasn't done so.

Commissioner Tobin has voted for every rate increase proposed by APS.
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About Commissioner Kennedy:

Sandra D. Kennedy was re-elected to the Corporation Commission in 2018 on a platform of restoring integrity to the Commission, lowering unjustified utility rate increases, and creating more solar and renewable energy in Arizona, especially roof top solar. Commissioner Kennedy was first elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2008 on a platform of promoting solar energy in Arizona, and as a fierce consumer advocate. She started her public service when she was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in November 1986, where she served for six years before successfully becoming a state senator in 1992. She served three terms as State Senator. Sandra was also elected to serve on the Phoenix Union High School Governing Board for a four-year term in 1990, serving concurrently with her last term in the Arizona House and her first term in the State Senate.

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 http://www.azcc.gov.