Happy Monday Everyone!
Last week we had the monthly open meeting. It was packed with agenda items and not all of them were addressed in the allotted time. Those items will roll over to next month. The same thing happened with the staff meeting that traditionally follows the open meeting. All but one of those items will also be rolled to the next month.
The consent agenda had numerous items, of which a few were pulled and added to the regular agenda so they could be discussed, or held until a future date. Commissioner Olson’s office had particular issue with one item where Coronado Utilities (service sewer service) and Arizona Water Company (water service) were requesting a waiver from the rules to allow communications between the two companies so the sewer company could collect on unpaid balances owed to them. While it is not unusual in AZ for a sewer company to work with the local water company to shut off water in the event of an unpaid sewer bill (assuming the Commission grants them a waiver from the rule), this proposal did not have any mechanism in place to protect the interested parties in the case where the person paying the water bill was not the same person that was paying the sewer bill. For example a landlord that may have taken over a water bill when the tenant moves out (to protect their yard plants, for example) but the tenant didn’t pay their sewer. Ultimately this item was not voted on, and will be brought up again next month after the utilities have discussed a reasonable way to address this type situation.
Another big discussion was the Arizona Water Company rate case. The reason this was a big deal was because the Commission initially failed to come to an agreement on the rate case after arguing the terms. This is a problem is because, as I have been saying, the commission has ONE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY, and that is to set just and reasonable rates. Not accepting a rate case that was properly argued and hashed out in front of the judge, is not fulfilling the Commission’s constitutional responsibilities. While nobody wants rates to increase, utilities are allowed to recoup certain costs legally, which means that the commissioners don’t have to like all of the terms of the rate case, but they need to address those terms individually and come to an agreement that approves the rates as a whole. This did not initially happen. The problem is, the legal team interpreted the rules differently than Commissioner Olson. The Commissioner was correct in that the Commissioners can bring another motion to the table with amendments to address the concerns they have. Ultimately, this is what happened, and while nobody liked the solution 100%, at least enough of the Democrats and Republicans could agree to get the rate case passed, thus doing their job.
There were other items addressed in the meeting, but many of them were uneventful. If there are any specific questions, please reach out and I would be happy to discuss those with you.
The staff meeting only had one item addressed, the Line Sighting Committee. This committee is made up of individuals from different walks of life and represent different interests in the community. These appointments are made by the Commission and are effective for two years. The committee addresses environmental and other factors regarding the placement of energy transmission lines, and makes recommendations to the commission regarding approval/denial of the specific placements being requested by the utilities.
The newest member of the committee to represent the counties is Mr. Rick Grinnell. Additionally, Jack Haenichen, Mary Hamway, Patricia Noland, Jim Palmer, and Karl Gentles were all reappointed for another 2 year term. Congratulations to each of those individuals.
This week is a bit slow at the ACC. However, tomorrow is the annual “Summer Preparedness Meeting”. You are free to watch at www.azcc.gov/live if you are inclined. The utilities will be discussing how they are prepared, and what they are planning to do make sure they are prepared for this summer’s Arizona heat. As you can imagine, this is a tough time for all utilities, and the Commission wants to know about any foreseen problems that need addressing sooner than later. All of the utilities will be presenting tomorrow, so please check it out. If you have any questions or comments, you can always ask them to the utilities by filing a letter to the docket as well. This isn’t just for Commissioners, it is for all utility customers, so feel free to get involved! If you have any questions about how to do this, please don’t hesitate to ask, I would be happy to help you through the process!
Have a great week!