News Release

April Open Meeting Highlights

For Immediate Release | 04-15-20
Media Contact | Nicole Capone
Direct |  602-542-0713

Phoenix — The Arizona Corporation Commission held its monthly Open Meeting to discuss and vote on various securities, utilities and railroad agenda items. Here is a brief recap of the meeting highlights:
 
Gilbert Man Commits Securities Fraud While Seeking Investors for Real Estate Projects
 
The Arizona Corporation Commission ordered Marvin Robby Richards of Gilbert to pay a $4,000 administrative penalty for fraudulently offering unregistered securities in connection with his real estate development companies.   
 
The Commission found Richards was not registered to offer or sell securities in Arizona when he advertised on Craigslist.com to raise investor funds for his real estate projects. The Commission found Richards downplayed the level of risk associated with investing in real estate and featured illustrative and not actual photographs of his current projects on his website. 
 
Additionally, the Commission found Richards represented that he had access to two manufactured homes which could be quickly installed on investment properties, but failed to disclose that possession of the homes could only occur once Richards’ debt to the home builder was paid.
 
In settling this matter, Richards admitted to the Commission’s findings and agreed to 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-21084A-19-0256.
 
Customers of Pueblo Del Sol Water Company Can Expect to See a Decrease on their Monthly Bills 
 
On Tuesday, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved an Application for a Determination of the Fair Value of its Utility Plant and Property filed by Pueblo Del Sol Water Company, which will decrease rates. 
 
The rates will decrease the typical residential bill with median usage by $3.75 or 17.4 percent from $21.50 to $17.75.
 
The Company is a Class C water service provider in an area in and adjacent to Sierra Vista, serving 5,369 customers.
 
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 W-02208A-19-0140.
 
Commissioners Approve Application for the 2020 Grade Crossing Array
 
The Arizona Corporation Commission, pursuant to law, submits to the railroad companies, cities, counties and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), an array of public rail/highway grade crossings where the installation of automatic warning signals or devices should be considered.
 
This array is a list of priority grade crossing improvement projects, generated by Commission Railroad Safety staff, and in cooperation with the railroads, ADOT, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and other involved stakeholders. This annual and ongoing public safety initiative also considers availability of federal, state, and local monies, material, labor, and other factors. It is used as a planning tool by these agencies and railroads for grade crossing upgrades.
 
The previous array approved by the Commission in Decision 77161 was reaffirmed and two additional crossings were added to the array. The two additional crossing upgrades were identified by Staff after consultation with ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration. Upgrades to signage and gates at 19th Ave. and McDowell in Phoenix; and upgrades to medians and right of way at Florence and Main in Casa Grande have been added.
 
A status update on each project identified in the 2020 array will be submitted to the Commission 12 months from the date of the decision by a filing in this docket by the appropriate railroad responsible for the crossing. 12 months from the date of the Commission decision in this matter, a status update on each project from a prior array approved by the Commission that is not yet complete will be submitted to the Commission by a filing in this docket by the appropriate railroad responsible for the crossing.
 
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 RR-00000A-20-0004.
 
Commissioners Expand Bill Assistance for Disabled Veterans of Global Water – Santa Cruz Water Company
 
The Arizona Corporation Commission approved Global Water – Santa Cruz Water Company, LLC’s request for the Customer Assistance Tariff. The Tariff will allow eligible customers to receive assistance with their utility bills, due to the COVID-19 crisis. The tariff was implemented on March 23, 2020. The Customer Assistance Tariff will include the following:
 
  • Low-Income Program- the eligibility requirement will be increased to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
  • Deployed Service Member Program- to qualify for the program, a service member must be on active duty for any of the armed forces, including the Reserves or National Guard called to active duty, be deployed, on a deployment that is not a "permanent change of station”, and have a primary residence in the Company's service area. Each service member's eligibility must be verified based on written orders from the service member's command, and continued eligibility must be verified not less than annually.
  • Disabled Veteran’s Program- to qualify for this program, a person must have been on active duty for any of the armed forces, including the Reserves or National Guard called to active duty, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, and have a permanent disability rating related to their military duty service, as demonstrated by a medical discharge or other written documentation from the United States Department of Defense or Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Furloughed Worker Program- this program is designed as a temporary relief program for customers impacted by temporary lay-offs or furloughs. To qualify for the program, a person must have been employed in good standing with an employer, provide written evidence that the person has been temporarily laid off, subject to recall, or furloughed by an employer (such as a government employee impacted by a "government shutdown").
  • Medical Hardship Program- To qualify for this program, a person, spouse, or qualifying dependent must either, be qualified for Social Security Disability Benefits, as evidenced by notice from the Social Security Administration, or be qualified for other short-term or long-term disability insurance benefits, as evidenced by a letter from the insurer, or have experienced a hospitalization of at least one day within the last year, or provide documentation that the customer, the customer's spouse, or a person claimed as a dependent on the customer's federal tax return, is currently on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or has been on such leave within the past year.

Commissioner Kennedy’s amendment that increased the per customer per service assistance to $350 passed 4-1.

Global is concerned that there is an unmet need through their utility customers, therefore, they plan to expand their outreach efforts. This will be done during customer contacts by Global customer service employees, through publication on the Global website, through emails to customers that have provided email addresses, and by messaging on monthly billing statements at least once annually.
 
Global will notify its customers of the tariffs approved and their effective date by means of either an insert in the next regularly scheduled billing or by a separate mailing. Global will file with Docket Control, as a compliance item in this docket, the tariffs approved in this Decision within 30 days of the effective date of this Decision.
 
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 W-20446A-20-0023, SW-20445A-20-0023, W-02450A-20-0023, W-03720A-20-0023 WS-04245A-20-0023, and W-03936A-20-0023.

Commissioners Approve Tucson Electric Power Company Transmission Line to Enhance Davis Monthan Air Force Base Energy Resiliency
 
Commissioners approved an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility authorizing the Irvington to East Loop 138 kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line Project, which includes the construction of new 138 kV transmission lines originating at the Irvington Substation (Section 03, Township 15 South, Range 14 East), with an interconnection at the Port Substation (Section 18, Township 15 South, Range 15 East) and terminating at the East Loop Substation (Section 08, Township 14 South, Range 15 East), each located within Pima County, Arizona.
 
The project’s structure will be in Tucson and Pima County and entails the construction of 12.78 miles of new 138 kV transmission line that will be constructed on a mixture of weathering tubular steel tangent and dead-end monopoles. The project will enhance TEP's ability to respond to future load growth, provide contingency support to existing distribution substations, assist Davis-Monthan Air Force Base ("DMAFB") in fulfilling the Department of Defense ("DOD") directive for enhancing energy resiliency, and over time allow replacement of part of the existing project description and alignment aging 46 kV system serving the area. The existing electrical infrastructure does not provide enough capacity to serve future load growth and needs to be enhanced to provide DMAFB the resiliency it needs in order to fulfill the DOD directive.
 
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 L-00000C-20-0007-00186.

Commissioners Address the Digital Divide, Approve Mohave Electric Cooperative Financing to Deliver Essential Broadband Services in Mohave, Yavapai and Coconino Counties
 
Commissioners approved Mohave Electric Cooperative’s (MEC) application to secure the financing necessary for MEC to construct a fiber optic system with broadband capability throughout MEC's service area.
 
MEC provides rural electric service to residential, commercial, industrial, irrigation and lighting customers through 1,500 miles of distribution and sub-transmission line within its 1,270 square mile service area.
 
MEC operates as a public service corporation via a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity that authorizes the provision of electric distribution service to customers in Mohave, Yavapai and Coconino Counties in Arizona.
 
The economics of serving rural America has been insufficient to attract the investment capital needed to provide reliable high-speed broadband service so critical to healthcare, education and attracting and retaining businesses. Arizona's 2018 Broadband Strategic Plan recognized approximately 898,725 Arizona citizens, primarily those in rural and tribal communities like those served by MEC, have limited or no access to high-speed internet. The recent circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have revealed even deeper inequities regarding the digital divide.
 
The approval of the financing application will provide critical broadband service more reliably and efficiently to this portion of rural Arizona.
 
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 number E-01750A-19-0319.

Commissioners Vote to Implement Paycheck Protection Program
 
During Wednesday’s Staff Meeting, Commissioners voted to implement expedited procedures for the Utilities and Corporations Divisions to process requests pursuant to the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. The Commission is committed to do everything in its power to assist Arizona businesses and help them stay afloat and retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
 
The Paycheck Protection Program will grant up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The loans will be forgiven if they are used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs. In many cases, this loan will mean the difference between survival and closure for many Arizona businesses.
 
Applying for the Program requires documentation from the Commission’s Corporations Division and, some cases, and for regulated utilities, Commission approval.
 
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 number AU-00000A-20-0050 and AU-00000A-20-0077.
 
A complete broadcast of the Commissioner’s April 14, 2020 Open Meeting is available on the Corporation Commission’s website: http://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 http://azcc.gov.

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