PHOENIX – The Arizona Corporation Commission held a Contingency Open Meeting on Wednesday September 21, 2022, to discuss two utility items. Highlights of the meeting are below:
EPCOR Agrees to Submit Application to Provide Water Service to Rio Verde Foothills
During the September Contingency Open Meeting Commissioners heard from EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc. (EPCOR) and other impacted parties about potential water solutions for residents of the Rio Verde Foothills community near Scottsdale, Arizona. Rio Verde Foothills is an unincorporated subdivision that does not have municipal water service, nor is it currently served by a private regulated water company. Instead, a significant portion of the community relies on water haulers to truck water into the area, while some residents have private wells. The water is currently being purchased from the City of Scottsdale and then trucked to the community for delivery. Scottsdale has given notice to residents that due to current drought conditions they will no longer be allowing water hauling from its standpipe beginning January 1, 2023, leaving residents with the prospect of not having access to water.
Rio Verde Foothills residents initially went to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors seeking to establish a Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID); however, the Board of Supervisors voted that option down in August.
The Corporation Commission contacted regulated water companies that operate near the Rio Verde Foothills to see if any had interest in offering a solution that would provide service to the community. EPCOR submitted a letter indicating interest in coming up with a solution to this problem. At the meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, EPCOR agreed to submit an application to construct a standpipe for use by the Rio Verde Foothills community. That application will come before the Commission for a vote at a future Open Meeting. If approved, construction of the standpipe could take up to 36 months to complete. It is important to note that the Commission does not have the authority to require a public service corporation to extend its service territory but can approve an application for an extension submitted by a public service corporation.
Investigation into Liberty Utilities Company Sewer Capacity Issues
Commissioners directed Staff to investigate sewer capacity issues with Liberty Utilities Company Litchfield Water and Sewer Division (Liberty Litchfield) following complaints from developers and West Valley cities. Commissioner Anna Tovar sent a letter on September 7, 2022, seeking information about the complaints. Liberty Litchfield has been issuing conditional responses to requests for new service despite the fact that its wastewater treatment facilities will be at capacity once all new agreements are executed prior to its Sarival Water Reclamation Facility being built. Commission Staff will now investigate the matter and prepare a report on its findings which Commissioners will discuss at a future Open Meeting. Additionally, Commissioners directed Liberty to evaluate interim solutions by working with the cities of Avondale, Litchfield, and Tolleson to see if any interconnection agreements could be reached to alleviate pressure on the existing wastewater treatment facility until Sarival is completed.