Global Utilities - 2012 Rate Case

Status
Prior
Docket Number
W-01212A-12-0309
SW-20445A-12-0310
W-03720A-12-0311
W-02450A-12-0312
W-02451A-12-0313
W-20446A-12-0314
W-01732A-12-0315
Assigned Staff
Dan Pozefsky
Robert Mease

 

Case Information:

On Monday, July 9, 2012, Global Utilities filed rate applications ("Applications") with the Arizona Corporation Commission ("ACC" or "Commission") for seven of its water and wastewater systems including Palo Verde Utilities Company, Santa Cruz Water Company, Valencia Water Company – Town Division, Valencia Water Company – Greater Buckeye Division, Water Utility of Greater Tonopah, Willow Valley Water Company, and Water Utility of Northern Scottsdale (collectively called "Global Utilities" or the "Company").  On Friday, July 13, 2012, Global Utilities filed a motion(link is external) requesting that the seven filings be consolidated into one.

The service areas of the Global Utilities systems are located in Scottsdale, Western Maricopa County and Western Pinal County which were some of the fastest growing areas of the state prior to the economic downturn.

According to revised schedules contained in Global Utilities' Applications, the Company is seeking the following dollar and percentage increases in test year adjusted revenues for each of its seven systems:

 

Name of System                                                       Increase ($)                              Increase (%)

 Palo Verde Utilities Company                                   $3,557,717                                      27.3%  

Santa Cruz Water Company                                      $2,907,448                                      27.7%

Valencia Water Company – Town Div.                          $798,321                                      17.1%

Valencia Water Company – Greater Buckeye Div.         $33,505                                        7.2%

Water Utility of Greater Tonopah                                $676,8743                                       25.7%

Willow Valley Water Company                                     $510,906                                        72.8%

Water Utility of Northern Scottsdale                                        $0                                         0.5%

 

On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, New World Properties, Inc. (“New World”) filed a request(link is external) for an order granting NWP leave to intervene in the Water Utility of Greater Tonopah docket.

On Friday, August 10, 2012, the attorney for Global Utilities filed letters for each of its seven systems, that agreed to delay the 30-day sufficiency period for two weeks from the date of filing revised accounting schedules that ACC Staff has issues with.

On Wednesday, September 26, 2012, ACC Staff issued insufficiency letters on four of the seven rate applications filed by Global Utilities. Rate applications filed on Palo Verde Utilities Company, Santa Cruz Water Company, Valencia Water Company, Inc., and Willow Valley Water Co., Inc. failed to meet the ACC's filing requirements. Sufficiency letters were sent to Valencia Water Company - Greater Buckeye, Water Utility of Greater Tonopah, Inc., and Water Utility of Northern Scottsdale.

Also on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, the attorney for Global Utilities filed a response opposing NWP's request to intervene in the Water Utility of Greater Tonopah docket.

On Monday, October 1, 2012, RUCO filed requests to intervene in the Valencia Water Company – Greater Buckeye Division, Water Utility of Greater Tonopah and Water Utility of Northern Scottsdale dockets.

On Friday, October 19, 2012, ACC Staff issued letters of sufficiency on Valencia Water Company – Town Division and  Willow Valley Water Company.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2012, RUCO filed requests to intervene in the Valencia Water Company – Town Division and  Willow Valley Water Company dockets.

On Friday, October 26, 2012, ACC Staff issued a letter of sufficiency on Palo Verde Utilities Company.

On Wednesday, October 31, 2012, RUCO filed a request to intervene in the Palo Verde Utilities Company docket.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2012, ACC Staff issued a letter of sufficiency on Santa Cruz Water Company.

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, RUCO filed a request to intervene in the Santa Cruz Water Company docket.

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, ACC Staff filed a request for a procedural conference(link is external) and a response in support of Global Utilities' motion to consolidate the Company's Applications.  In its request, ACC Staff proposed a procedural schedule for the filing of written testimony, possible settlement discussions, and an evidentiary hearing on the matter.

On Monday, November 19, 2012, RUCO filed a response(link is external) to ACC Staff's request for a procedural conference and motion to consolidate.

On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to the matter issued a Procedural Order(link is external) that consolidated all seven of Global Utilities' dockets, granted intervenor status to RUCO and New World.

On Friday, February 22, 2013, the City of Maricopa filed a request to intervene in the matter.

On Thursday, February 28, 2013, a number of homeowner associations collectively referred to as Maricopa Associations filed a request to intervene in the mater.

On Friday, March 1, 2013, the Willow Valley Club Association filed a request to intervene in the mater.

On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) granting intervenor status to City of Maricopa, Maricopa Area Homeowners Associations, Steven P. Tardiff, Willow Valley Club Association, and Dana L. Jennings.

During a Staff Meeting held on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, the five sitting members of the ACC voted to hold a public comment meeting on Global Utilities' Santa Cruz Water Company and Palo Verde Utilities in the City of Maricopa.  Pursuant to a Procedural Order issued on April 16, 2013, the public comment meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at the Maricopa Wells Middle School, Multi-Purpose Room, 45725 W. Honeycutt Ave., Maricopa, Arizona 85239.  The Procedural Order also granted intervenor status to Andy and Marilyn Mausser.

On Friday, April 12, 2013, ACC Staff filed a request(link is external) to modify the procedural schedule issued on November 20, 2013.  ACC Staff stated in its request that "because of the complexity of :he issues raised in this case, Staff requires a 60-day extension of time until July 8, 2013 to file its direct testimony. Staff also requests that the remaining dates in the procedural schedule be extended by the same 60-day period."

On Tuesday, April 30, 2012, the ALJ assigned to hear Global Utilities' request issued a Procedural Order(link is external) which granted ACC Staff's request for a 60-day continuance for filing direct testimony in the matter. The evidentiary hearing on the matter is now scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 5, 2013, at 1200 W. Washington in Phoenix.  A pre-hearing conference will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at the same location.  The original hearing date scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 15, 2013, at 1200 W. Washington in Phoenix, will be maintained for public comment.

On Thursday, May 30, 2013, 442 individuals attended the ACC's first scheduled public comment meeting on Global's rate increase requests for Santa Cruz Water Company and Palo Verde Utilities Company.  Approximately 44 customers addressed the four sitting ACC Commissioners who attended the meeting which was held at the Maricopa Wells Middle School in the City of Maricopa.

On Thursday, June 13, 2013, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) granting intervenor status to Sierra Negra Ranch.

RUCO filed its direct testimony on Monday, July 8, 2013.

On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, Global Utilities filed a letter(link is external) addressed to the Director of the ACC's Utilities Division requesting that ACC Staff agree to settlement discussions.

Based on ACC Staff's recommendation, on Friday July 12, 2013, the Company filed a motion to intervene(link is external) for the following Global systems: Hassayampa Utilities Company, Picacho Cove Water Company, and Pichacho Cove Utilities Company.

During the public comment meeting conducted on Monday, July 15, 2013, the attorney for Global Utilities informed the ALJ assigned to the case that the Company intended to file a notice(link is external) of settlement discussions.  The attorney for Global Utilities also informed the ALJ of the Company's support for ACC Staff's request(link is external) for an extension on the filing of rate design testimony from Monday, July 15, 2013 to Friday, July 26, 2013 and the Company's motion to intervene filed on July 12, 2013.

On Thursday, July 18, 2013, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) that granted intervenor status to Hassayampa Utilities Company, Picacho Cove Water Company, and Pichacho Cove Utilities Company.  The Procedural Order also granted ACC Staff's request to file direct rate design testimony on Friday, July 26, 2013.

The first day of settlement talks began at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2013, and continued through Friday, July 19, 2013, in the Commissioner's Conference Room on the second floor of the Offices of the Arizona Corporation Commission, 1200 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007.  Talks are expected to resume sometime during the week of August 5th.

On Thursday July 25, 2013, ACC Staff filed a request(link is external) to suspend the filing of direct rate design testimony, which was due on Friday, July 26, 2013, in light of the settlement talks.

On Friday July 26, 2013, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) granting ACC Staff's request to suspend the filing of direct rate design testimony in light of the settlement talks.

In the event that a settlement agreement is reached by the parties to the case, a proposed settlement agreement will be reduced to writing and filed on Monday, August 12, 2013.  Testimony in support of, or opposition to a proposed settlement agreement will be due on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.  Responsive testimony on a proposed settlement agreement will be filed on Friday, August 30, 2013.

If no settlement is reached, a new date will be established for filing direct rate design testimony.   Under the current Procedural Order, rebuttal testimony from Global Utilities will be filed on Monday, August 12, 2013.  Surrebuttal testimony from ACC Staff, RUCO, New World and any other intervenors to the case will be filed on Wednesday, August 28, 2013.  A final round of rejoinder testimony from the Company is due on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

Public comment is generally taken during the first day of the evidentiary hearing on the matter. ACC Commissioners may conduct a public comment meeting in the service areas of the seven systems if there is a large amount of customer interest in the proposed rate increases.

During the discovery phase of the proceeding prior to the evidentiary hearing, RUCO's staff will analyze Global Utilities' Applications to determine if the amounts of revenue increase being requested by the Company are appropriate.

After the evidentiary hearing and the filing of legal briefs, the ALJ will issue a Recommended Opinion and Order ("ROO") that will be voted on by the five sitting ACC Commissioners during a noticed Open Meeting. The Commissioners can either accept, amend or reject the ROO.

Assuming that the case is fully litigated, a final decision on Global Utilities' rate increase requests is not expected until sometime during the fourth quarter of 2013.