Decision issued on interim water rate case

The Arizona Corporation Commission voted 3-2 in favor of interim water rates at a hearing on March 28, 2019. Here's what the final decision means to Anthem east-side residents:

  • Rates for Anthem ratepayers will increase, on average, 35%. This is just on your water bill; not wastewater or your TOTAL bill.
  • A $2.53 surcharge per one thousand gallons of consumption will be added to the water bill. Therefore, a "typical" Anthem customer's use of 7,000 gallons/month with a 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch meter will see an increase of $17.71/month. Added to the $50.91 they already pay, the new water portion of the bill will be $68.62. 
  • Because the surcharge is volumetric, if you use less than 7,000 gallons, your new bill will not be as high; if you use more than 7,000 gallons, it will be more. To calculate your new rate for water, look at your gallons used last month and add $2.53 per 1,000 gallons to it.
  • The new rates became effective April 1, 2019.
  • The interim rates will be in effect until a new, permanent rate case is filed, heard and voted upon. EPCOR has until May 1, 2020 to file a new case, using 2019 as their "test year" to establish new rates. Based on past cases, the hearing on that case could extend through 2020.
  • The new rate case in 2020 MUST include options for geographically adjacent or similar district consolidation options. The case that failed to pass earlier this year was for total statewide consolidation of the 11 districts (not regional consolidation). Based on the preliminary data from that case, regional consolidation could benefit Anthem ratepayers. 
  • If the rates in the 2020 case end up being LESS than the interim rates, customers will be refunded the difference for that time period plus interest.
  • There are low-income, disabled veteran and deployed service member/family programs for assistance with water bills. These are available via EPCOR directly.
"While any increase is unacceptable in our opinion, the final result is better than the 59% increase that Anthem ratepayers were facing just a few months ago," said Kristi Northcutt, Director of Public Affairs for the Anthem Community Council. She served as an intervener in the case along with Board President Roger Willis. 

"Regional consolidation holds some promise for our district. So while our ratepayers must unfortunately endure an increase in this interim period, there does seem to be hope for a better outcome next year," she said.

EPCOR will host a community meeting at the Civic Building May 9 at 6 p.m. to explain these changes, the impact to Anthem ratepayers, and next steps. Be sure you're subscribed to receive our communications so that you can stay informed.

History of the case

On March 12, 2019, the Administrative Law Judge overseeing the EPCOR interim rate case issued a Recommended Opinion and Order on EPCOR's application. She recommended a 26% increase to Anthem’s rates on an interim basis, for a flat increase of $13.39/month based on 7,000 gallons usage. EPCOR’s application called for a 36% increase for Anthem. In the previous case, which reached a 2-2 indecision in January (one Commissioner was recused), the standalone bill recommended by the judge showed a bill of $81.01 for Anthem residents, or a 59% increase. 

More information is posted on EPCOR's website.