UNS Electric, Inc. - 2013 Rate Case
On Monday, December 31, 2012, UNS Electric, Inc. (“UNSE” or “Company”) filed an application with the Arizona Corporation Commission ("ACC" or "Commission") requesting an increase in the Company's non-fuel base rates by $7.5 million, or approximately 4.60 percent over adjusted test year revenues of $163,982,000, to be effective no later than January 1, 2014.
Under UNSE's proposed rates, an average customer, using 800 kWh per month, would see his or her monthly bill increase by $3.57, or 4.60 percent, from $77.72 to $81.29.
UNSE is a Class A utility that provides service to customers in Mohave County in northern Arizona, and Santa Cruz County in southeastern Arizona. The Company’s present rates and charges were established by the ACC in Decision No. 71914(link is external), dated September 30, 2010 (RUCO was an intervenor in that proceeding). UNSE is a wholly owned subsidiary of UNS Energy Corporation, a publicly traded utility holding company that is based in Tucson, Arizona.
In addition to the requested increase in revenue, UNSE is also seeking approval of the following:
(1) a lost fixed cost recovery mechanism related to the ACC's Renewable Energy Standard (“REST”) rules and Electric Energy Efficiency ("EE’’) rules;
(2) a transmission cost adjustment mechanism;
(3) a new approach to funding cost-effective demand-side management and energy efficiency programs;
(4) modifications to its Purchased Power and Fuel Adjustment Clause (“PPFAC”);
(5) necessary modifications to the rate design and
(6) modifications to its Tariff, Rules and Regulations and certain existing compliance requirements.
On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, RUCO filed an application(link is external) with the Commission to intervene in the proceeding.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, ACC Staff issued a letter of sufficiency(link is external) informing UNSE that its application for a permanent increase in rates meets the requirements of A.A.C. R14-2-103.
On Thursday, February 7, 2013, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to hear UNS Electric, Inc.'s request for a permanent rate increase issued a Procedural Order(link is external) scheduling the evidentiary hearing on the matter for 10:00 a.m. on Monday, September 30, 2013, at 1200 W. Washington in Phoenix. A pre-hearing conference will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2013 at the same location. The procedural order also granted RUCO's request to intervene in the proceeding.
Public comment is generally taken during the first day of the evidentiary hearing. ACC Commissioners may conduct other public comment meetings in the Company's service area depending on the response they get from UNSE customers.
On Monday, February 11, 2013 the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) that revised the filing dates for written testimony in order to take settlement discussions into consideration.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2013 the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) that grated intervenor status to Nucor Corporation.
RUCO filed its direct testimony on issues other than rate design as scheduled on Friday, June 28, 2013.
In its direct testimony, RUCO is recommending no increase in rates.
On Tuesday, July 2, 2013 the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) that granted a joint request(link is external) to change the filing date for rebuttal testimony from Monday, August 12, 2013 to Friday, August 16, 2013.
Direct testimony on rate design from ACC Staff, RUCO and other intervenors was filed on Friday, July 12, 2013.
On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, UNSE filed a notice(link is external) informing the parties to the case that settlement talks on the Company's Application would begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room, second floor, 1200 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007.
Formal settlement meetings concluded on Tuesday, July 31, 2013.
On Thursday, August 1, 2013, UNSE filed a joint request(link is external) to modify the procedural schedule.
If a settlement agreement is reached by the parties to the case, a copy of the proposed settlement agreement is scheduled to be filed on Monday, August 12, 2013. Direct testimony in support of, or opposition to, the proposed settlement agreement will be filed on Monday, August, 26, 2013. Responsive testimony on the proposed settlement agreement is due by Monday, September 9, 2013.
If the case is fully litigated, as opposed to being settled, UNSE's rebuttal testimony is now due on Friday, August 16, 2013. Surrebuttal testimony from ACC Staff, RUCO and other intervenors will be filed on Friday, September 13, 2013. A final round of rejoinder testimony from the Company is due on Monday, September 23, 2013.
During the discovery phase of the proceeding (prior to filing written direct testimony), RUCO will analyze UNSE's application and issue data requests to obtain additional information on the Company's request for a permanent increase in rates.
After the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing and the filing of legal briefs, the ALJ will weigh all of the evidence presented in the case and issue a Recommended Opinion and Order ("ROO") that will be voted on by the five sitting ACC Commissioners during a noticed Open Meeting. Commissioners can either accept, amend or reject the ROO. Assuming that the case is fully litigated, as opposed to reaching a settlement agreement, a final decision on UNSE's rate increase request is not expected until sometime during December of 2013.