PHOENIX – Commissioner Bob Burns has docketed his dissent opinion in the Arizona Water/Cornman Tweedy matter that involved the extension of Arizona Water Company’s service area.

Commissioner Burns believes that the possibility of regulatory abuse or regulatory over-reach creates a grave concern as to future actions of the Arizona Corporation Commission and the potential adverse impacts on regulated companies and their rate payers.

Arizona Water Company, a Corporation Commission regulated utility, after being granted a legal order by a majority vote of the Commissioners was, through a highly irregular process, ordered into settlement discussions with a developer, Cornman Tweedy (a Robson Company). Cornman Tweedy opposed the majority vote of the Corporation Commission. After reaching a settlement, as ordered, it seems the settlement was viewed as too good of a deal for Arizona Water Company and the settlement was amended by the Corporation Commission to reduce the benefit to Arizona Water Company.

The end result is that rate payers will eventually pay higher rates than they would otherwise because of the additional cost of the benefit received by Corman Tweedy.

Some might ask why Arizona Water Company was not more aggressive in its opposition to violation of its due process rights caused by the irregular process used in this case. Arizona Water Company is a regulated utility with a number of divisions continually requiring Corporation Commission decisions. To aggressively protect its rights could be viewed by some on the Corporation Commission as defiance. Few, if any, regulated utilities want to be viewed as defiant of the Corporation Commission. To that point, in the very next item on the same open meeting agenda Arizona Water Company was requesting a rate increase for one of its divisions.

Commissioner Burns’ dissenting opinion can be found at within the Corporation Commission’s online docket W-01445A-03-0559.   back...
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