Gold Canyon Sewer Company - Appeal
At a regular Open Meeting of the Arizona Corporation Commission ("ACC" or "Commission") held on June 26, 2007 at 1200 W. Washington in Phoenix, the five sitting ACC Commissioners granted a 72.02 percent rate increase to Gold Canyon Sewer Company ("Gold Canyon" or "Company"). The vote followed a lengthy debate and discussion on the Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ") Recommended Opinion and Order and other rate-lowering amendments (including two that sought adoption of RUCO's positions on hypothetical capital structure and excess capacity), the amended order passed by a final vote of three to two.
On July 18, 2007, RUCO filed an Application for Rehearing requesting that the ACC reconsider its decision to increase Gold Canyon's rates.
RUCO stated in its filing that the 72.02 percent increase is not reasonable or fair to Gold Canyon customers under the facts and circumstances of the case. RUCO also stated that the final decision heavily favors the Company’s interests over the interests of the ratepayers.
RUCO submitted the application on the final day of a twenty day period in which parties to utility rate case proceedings can request a rehearing on final decisions rendered by the ACC.
On August 1, 2007 four of the five ACC Commissioners voted to approve RUCO's request to rehear three specific issues in the Gold Canyon rate case. The vote came after approximately thirty minutes of contentious debate among the five Commissioners during a regularly scheduled staff meeting at the ACC's Phoenix office.
After a rehearing of the case, in which RUCO's Staff provided expert testimony on RUCO's positions, and the filing of legal briefs, the ALJ assigned to the case issued his Recommended Opinion and Order ("ROO") which rejected RUCO's positions.
At a scheduled Open Meeting held on November 12 and 13, 2008, the five ACC Commissioners voted on an amended ROO which adopted RUCO's positions on excess capacity and capital structure resulting in lower rates for Gold Canyon ratepayers.
On December 22, 2008, the Commission voted on a second Decision which clarified the intent of the first Decision.
After the Open Meeting, the attorneys for Gold Canyon filed an application seeking a rehearing which was rejected by the Commission. Gold Canyon subsequently appealed the Commission's final decision in the Arizona Court of Appeals.
On Wednesday, December 17, 2009, RUCO filed its responsive brief with the Court of Appeals Division One.
On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, the Arizona Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Gold Canyon Sewer Company's appeal of Decision No. 70624, dated November 19, 2008 and Decision No. 70662, dated December 23, 2008. Attorneys for RUCO and the ACC defended the Commission's Decisions before a panel of three appeals court judges. Customers of Gold Canyon Sewer were on hand to witness the proceeding.
On Thursday, May 20, 2010, the Arizona Court of Appeals Division 1 issued a Memorandum Decision affirming the Arizona Corporation Commission's Decision No. 70624, dated November 19, 2008 and Decision No. 70662, dated December 23, 2008.