A ruling on a proposed settlement that sees Anthem’s residential wastewater rates decrease and gives a positive end to a challenge facing the community for the better part of the year has been finalized.
The Arizona Corporation Commission decided to adopt the settlement agreement between EPCOR and their five wastewater districts at its meeting Dec. 18. The settlement’s approval means the Commission will NOT reconsolidate the Anthem and Agua Fria Wastewater Districts, and Anthem residential ratepayers* will receive a small reduction in rates Jan. 1, 2015.
A petition spearheaded by the Council collected more than 3,000 signatures and was presented as evidence in the case, along with testimony from CEO Jenna Kohl and Director Roger Willis.
The settlement is a compromise among all five EPCOR wastewater districts, orchestrated by the Residential Utilities Consumer Office (RUCO). The agreement sets new wastewater rates as of Jan. 1 for residential customers in Anthem and the other four districts. An administrative law judge accepted the settlement without exception earlier this month.
Highlights of the settlement include:
• Reduces Anthem’s 2015 residential rates by about 3.3% compared to our 2014 rates;
• Provides significant rate relief in 2015 to Agua Fria residents; and
• Increases residential rates in Sun City and Sun City West by small amounts.
The reduction in our rates is less than originally promised in the December 2012 deconsolidation case, but the alternative could have been no reduction, or worse, a 20% increase in our rates if reconsolidation would have been implemented.
A new wastewater rate case will begin sometime in Fall 2015. At that time, EPCOR will submit a complete rate case for both full consolidation and further deconsolidation of the five wastewater districts. Based on initial examination, full consolidation could provide additional savings to Anthem customers. But there will likely be opposition. A new petition and letter-writing campaign will likely be part of the case next fall, and signatures en masse will be crucial to achieving Anthem’s goal of reducing rates paid by EPCOR ratepayers in Anthem.
*Commercial property rates will stay the same.