For Immediate Release | 3-25-20
Media Contact | Nicole Capone
Direct | 602-542-0713
Phoenix — The Arizona Corporation Commission held its monthly Open Meeting to discuss and vote on various utilities and securities agenda items. Here is a brief recap of the meeting highlights:
Commission Sanctions Forex & Bitcoin Trader for Fraudulent Investment Sales
The Arizona Corporation Commission ordered Forex & Bitcoin Trader of New York to pay a $10,000 administrative penalty for committing securities fraud in Arizona.
In its default order, the Arizona Corporation Commission found Forex & Bitcoin Trader offered and sold unregistered investment contracts to two Arizona residents who responded to a Craigslist advertisement for an “investment program.” The Commission found that the investors received emails and text messages from Forex & Bitcoin Trader as well as a referral to the company’s website, which touted guaranteed returns of ten times the amount invested after two weeks.
Additionally, the Arizona Corporation Commission found Forex & Bitcoin Trader failed to disclose any risks associated with investing in crypto currencies or foreign currencies (Forex) as well as the regulatory action taken by the state of Texas against the company. During this time, Forex & Bitcoin Trader was not registered to offer or sell securities in Arizona.
LendingClub Corp Agrees to Pay $100,000 Penalty for Selling Unregistered Notes
In a consent order entered by the Arizona Corporation Commission, LendingClub Corporation agreed to pay a $100,000 administrative penalty for selling unregistered notes to 345 investors while not registered as a securities dealer. This money will be deposited into the state of Arizona’s general fund.
The Arizona Corporation Commission found LendingClub Corporation has its headquarters in California and operates an online marketplace platform that connects borrowers and investors. The Commission found the investors fund loans by purchasing notes issued by LendingClub Corporation.
In settling this matter, LendingClub Corporation neither admits nor denies the Commission’s findings, but agrees to entry of the consent order. All documents relating to this case can be found in the Corporation Commission's online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov/
and entering docket number S-21095A-20-0044
DCR Transmission, L.L.C. (Ten West Link Project) Approved for Certificate of Environmental Compatibility
The Arizona Corporation Commission approved an application in conformance with the requirements of A.R.S. § 40-360 et. seq., for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) authorizing the 500-kilovolt transmission line, which includes the construction of a new 125-mile kilovolt transmission line between Arizona Public Service Company's Delaney Substation and Southern California Edison's Colorado River Substation, to be referred to as the Ten West Link Project.
The project will enhance reliability and capacity between California and Arizona and will provide greater access to the California energy market and its increasing supply of low cost and sometimes negatively priced energy.
The project will have minimal effects on the environment and ecology of the state. DCR Transmission will work with the town of Quartzsite, AZ during construction to maximize job opportunities and tax revenue, in return, bringing economic benefits to the state. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Johnson Utilities, Update from Interim Manager
During an update from Johnson Utilities, LLC, the company’s Interim Manager, EPCOR, informed the Arizona Corporation Commission that addressing continuity and reliability of service to Johnson customers during the coronavirus outbreak is a top priority of the company.
EPCOR also stated that the new Ion Exchange system has been in operation for several months. The system has proved to be effective in treating the ground water in the region.
The Bella Vista Farms well and transmission line is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by mid-April. Once completed, the well will provide additional water resources to the southern part of region number two and will provide consistent water pressures and redundancy. The well and transmission line will have the ability to add nearly three million gallons per day to the system and is expected to be completed by mid-April 2020.
The Promenade Well 2 is under construction. This well can produce 2.6 million gallons per day into the distribution system. It has very low nitrate concentrations and will add additional production and redundancy to the water system. Completion of this project is expected by end of March.
Customer satisfaction surveys regarding Johnson’s level of care are continuing to be conducted. Results show that satisfaction numbers are in the low 70s. EPCOR will continue to analyze customer responses on a monthly basis and is working to improve the numbers and hope to increase them in to the 90s.
APS Discusses Customer Service Initiatives and Gives Rate Comparison Tool Update
Jeff Guldner, CEO for Arizona Public Service Company (APS) informed Commissioners that they have discontinued disconnections due to unpaid bills during the COVID-19 epidemic. The company also established a customer support fund. So far, 5,000 customers have self-reported an economic hardship, health issue or a significant change due to the coronavirus to the company. APS says they are taking customers at their word and are issuing a $100 account credit per customer to lessen the financial impacts of the virus.
The company’s Deer Valley call center is practicing social distancing amidst the COVID-19 epidemic, representatives are now working from home and upholding their job duties remotely.
Daniel Froetscher, president and chief operating officer for APS, informed Commissioners that 12,815 checks have been issued to the customers who were or may have been placed on less-than optimal rate plans as a result of using the company’s initial online rate comparison tool. The company credited customers for the amount they overpaid and issued customers an additional $25 credit, with this came a letter explaining the reason for the refund.
Regarding customer service enhancements, APS told Commissioners that they are dedicated to bettering their customer outreach. APS is in the process of forming a customer advisory board, where they will gain insight directly from customers who will test and evaluate the system and report inconsistencies, customer experiences and service options. The first customer advisory board meeting has been delayed due to the coronavirus, but the customer recruitment process is underway.
The company's new rate comparison tool launched on February 3, 2020, and 5,600 customers made a change to a different rate plan since the launch of the new tool.
A complete broadcast of the Commissioner’s March 24, 2020 Open Meeting is available on the Corporation Commission’s website: http://azcc.gov/live