Gold Canyon Sewer Company - Rehearing
On July 18, 2007 RUCO filed an Application for Rehearing(link is external) requesting that the ACC reconsider its final decision to increase Gold Canyon's rates by approximately 72.02 percent. 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 sewer 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. The Commission has twenty days to consider RUCO’s request and act on it. If no action is taken during the twenty day period the decision stands.
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. No date or time was set for the rehearing which will deal with the issues of excess capacity, hypothetical capital structure and rate case expense.
On August 28, 2007 the ALJ assigned to the case issued a procedural order(link is external) which scheduled a procedural conference for Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. at the Commission's Phoenix office. During the scheduled procedural conference the parties to the case discussed possible dates for a hearing and other procedural issues (such as the filing of written testimony). The parties agreed that RUCO should file rehearing (direct) testimony on Friday, September 28, 2007. This will be followed by a round of responsive testimony from the Company and ACC Staff on Friday, October 26, 2007. Responses to discovery requests will be provided in seven calendar days from the date of receipt. The rehearing in the matter was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at the Commission's Phoenix Office at 1200 W. Washington.
On September 14, 2007, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a procedural order(link is external) setting the date of the evidentiary hearing for 10:00 a.m. on November 13, 2007 at the ACC's Phoenix office at 1200 W. Washington.
RUCO filed its Rehearing (direct) Testimony as scheduled on September 28, 2007.
On October 10, 2007, Gold Canyon filed a request seeking an extension of time to file the Company's responsive testimony that is due on October 27, 2007.
On October 12, 2007, ACC Staff filed a request for an extension of time(link is external) to its responsive testimony.
On October 15, 2007, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a procedural order(link is external) granting Gold Canyon's and ACC Staff's requests. Responsive testimony is scheduled to be filed on Tuesday, October 30, 2007.
Due to a fire at the Arizona Corporation Commission building, the rehearing for Gold Canyon Sewer Company was rescheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at the Arizona State Capital Executive Tower Building. The rehearing was recessed at 5:00 p.m. All three of RUCO's witnesses testified during the first day of the rehearing and were cross examined by the Company's attorney, lawyers for ACC Staff, ALJ Dwight Nodes and Commissioner Kris Mayes.
On December 12, 2007, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a procedural order(link is external) that rescheduled the rehearing for Monday and Tuesday, February 25 and 26, 2008. The second day of the rehearing was held on Monday, February 25, 2008 at the Commission's Phoenix office at 1200 W. Washington. During day 2 RUCO's attorney cross examined witnesses for the Company.
The third day of the rehearing was held on Monday, March 31, 2008 at the Commission's Phoenix office at 1200 W. Washington. During day 3 RUCO's attorney cross examined witnesses for ACC Staff who testified on the hypothetical capital structure, rate case expense and excess capacity issues that are the subject of the proceeding. ACC Staff witnesses were also cross examined by Gold Canyon's attorney, ALJ Dwight Nodes, ACC Chairman Mike Gleason, Commissioner Kris Mayes and Commissioner Gary Pierce. The rehearing was recessed around 12:30 p.m. RUCO's policy witness was unable to testify as scheduled due to an unexpected illness. No definite date was set for the final day of the rehearing.
On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, rehearing supplemental testimony on the hypothetical capital structure issue was filed by RUCO.
After the the third day of hearing, the attorney's for the parties to the case decided that no additional days of hearing would be needed. RUCO agreed to withdraw its supplemental testimony on the hypothetical capital structure issue in the case but gave judicial notice of the 2006 Algonquin Power Income Fund Annual Report that was contained in the testimony. RUCO filed its rehearing closing brief as scheduled on Monday, May 5, 2008. Reply briefs were filed on Thursday, May 22, 2008.
After the filing of legal briefs, Judge Nodes weighed all of the evidence presented during the proceeding, including public correspondence and comment from ratepayers, and issued a 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, 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 ACC Staff 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.
No date has been set for a decision on the matter.
1 ACC Staff filed its direct testimony on its recommended level of revenue and recommended rate design on Friday, June 23, 2006.