On August 31, 2007, Southwest Gas Corporation ("SWG" or "Company") filed an application ("Application") with the Arizona Corporation Commission ("ACC" or "Commission") requesting a permanent increase in rates. SWG, a Class A utility, is seeking a revenue increase of $50.2 million which will result in a 9.45 percent return on invested capital. According to the Company's application, the proposed increase would raise the current average monthly residential bill of $50.95 by $3.59 per month or approximately 7.05 percent. SWG is also seeking approval of a Revenue Decoupling Adjustment Provision ("RDAP") mechanism that will allow the Company to recover lost revenues, attributed to customer conservation, through SWG's rates. SWG is the largest local distribution company in the state of Arizona, and provides natural gas to customers in Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal and Yuma counties. Fifty-four percent of Las Vegas-based Southwest Gas Corporation's customers are located in Arizona.
On October 1, 2007, ACC Staff issued a Letter of Sufficiency informing SWG that the Company's Application had met the sufficiency requirements of A.A.C. R14-2-103.
On October 16, 2007 RUCO filed a request for intervention.
On October 23, 2007, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to hear the case issued a procedural order that established the dates and times for the evidentiary hearing on the matter and sets the dates for filing testimony from the parties to the case.
The evidentiary hearing on SWG's rate request will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008 at the Commission's Phoenix office at 1200 W. Washington.
On December 6, 2007, ACC Staff filed a request for a change in the procedural schedule to allow for a separate filing date for direct testimony on rate design.
On December 11, 2007, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to hear the case issued a second procedural order that granted ACC Staff's request.
ACC Staff, RUCO and other intervenors to the case filed written direct testimony on Friday, March 28, 2008. Direct testimony on rate design was filed on Friday, April 11, 2008. Rebuttal testimony from SWG was filed on Friday, May 9, 2008. ACC Staff, RUCO and any other intervenors to the case file written surrebuttal testimony on Tuesday, May 27, 2008. SWG filed a final round of rejoinder testimony on Monday, June 9, 2008.
The evidentiary hearing on SWG's request began on Monday, June 16, 2008 and was concluded on Thursday, June 26, 2008. During the hearing, attorneys for SWG and ACC Staff cross examined RUCO's expert witnesses. RUCO's witnesses also responded to questions posed by Commissioner Kris Mayes and the ALJ assigned to the case. RUCO's attorney cross examined expert witnesses testifying on behalf of SWG, ACC Staff, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and the Arizona Investment Council.
Final position schedules and closing legal briefs were filed on Friday, August 8, 2008. Reply were filed by the parties to the case on Friday, August 22, 2008. After the filing of legal briefs, and weighing all of the evidence presented during the case, including public correspondence and comment from ratepayers, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Recommended Opinion and Order ("ROO").
The ROO was adopted by the five sitting ACC Commissioners during an Open Meeting held on December 24, 2008.