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What wastewater rates and consolidation means for you

As a regulated utility, rates for your water and wastewater service are approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). On June 13, 2017 the ACC voted to approve the consolidation of the Agua Fria, Anthem, Mohave, Sun City and Sun City West wastewater districts, phased in over five years.

We believe the ACC's decision on consolidation is the best long-term solution for all of our customers. It will be even more important as prices go up because of infrastructure work. Once fully phased in, EPCOR wastewater customers will pay the same price for the same service, no matter where they live.

New rates are effective July 1, 2017 and will be phased-in each July for 5 years until all customers pay the same rate of $38.59. We understand this is a change for some of our districts, which is why rates will be gradually phased in to help customers in areas where rates will increase while still providing immediate relief to customers where rates are significantly higher.

You may see an adjustment on your bill to reflect the change in rates. For example, if your bill for service is from June 15 through July 14, you will be billed at the old rate for June 15-30 and at the new rate from July 1-14.

*Prior to July 1, 2017, Anthem’s wastewater rate included a basic service charge plus additional charges per thousand gallons of water used. All other districts were already on flat rates. As of July 1, 2017 all wastewater customers pay a flat rate for wastewater service.

New assistance programs

In Decision 76162, the ACC also approved EPCOR's request to create new Low Income Assistance and Deployed Service member credit programs for wastewater. Customers who meet the low income program eligibility requirements may be able to get $10 off their monthly bill and active-duty service members who face temporary deployment and meet the program's eligibility requirements may have their monthly wastewater bill waived.

Power costs and property taxes

It takes a lot to move wastewater from your home to the facility where it is carefully treated and put to future use to irrigate public spaces or recharge the underground aquifer. In Decision 76162, the ACC approved the new Power Cost Adjustor and Property Tax Adjustor mechanisms that will adjust each year to recover or refund the cost of purchasing power and paying property taxes to run your wastewater collection and treatment systems. They will be based on the previous year's costs and will begin to appear on your bill on or after July 1, 2018.

Infrastructure and System Improvement Benefit (SIB)

To ensure that your wastewater system continues to operate reliably and safely, continual maintenance, repairs and replacements must be made, especially in areas where wastewater systems are aging. In Decision 76162, the ACC also authorized EPCOR to be able to apply for a wastewater System Improvement Benefit (SIB) program for collection mains and manholes. SIB is limited in scope, is strictly regulated by the ACC, and all utilities are required to prove the infrastructure projects benefit the community. The SIB application is subject to review and approval by the ACC once submitted by EPCOR.

Understanding rates

We're a regulated utility, which means that the ACC makes the decision on what rates should be after a long and careful review of the information and costs in a rate case. It can take a year or more before the ACC makes a decision. Learn more about how the rate case process works.

Why consolidation is the right solution

Pipes, pumps and plants are aging beyond repair and newer technologies have maintenance and repair needs, too. Over the next 10 years, we need to spend more than $600 million to repair, rehabilitate and replace aging infrastructure to keep our water and wastewater systems operating at a safe and reliable level for you and the environment.

And the costs to take your wastewater away, treat it properly and put it to new use recharging the underground aquifer or watering public parks, play areas and golf courses are increasing.

There's a lot more to wastewater than flushing it down the drain. The best way to manage how this impacts your bill now and in the future is with one, larger, consolidated wastewater districts.

Why consolidation?

In June 2012, the ACC voted to deconsolidate, or separate, the Agua Fria and Anthem wastewater districts over a 3 year period that began January 2013. Deconsolidation didn't bring any additional revenue to us. It simply recalculated the approved rates based on two separate districts, and the cost to deliver service in each district, instead of one.

But deconsolidation meant changes for our Agua Fria and Anthem customers. Anthem customers saw their monthly wastewater bill decrease, while Agua Fria wastewater customers saw their monthly bill increase. Responding to concerns raised by Agua Fria customers, in July 2014, ACC staff directed us to review wastewater rate design options under different consolidation and deconsolidation scenarios. Because the data was based on costs from 2008, the Residential Utility Consumer Office, EPCOR and representatives from our wastewater districts recommended interim rates and a new wastewater rate case using fresh financial data.

On December 18, 2014, the ACC voted to approve interim rates effective January 1, 2015 and ordered a new wastewater rate case that would give it the information it needed to make a decision on the policy of consolidation. The case was filed April 29, 2016 and the ACC's decision to approve consolidation was issued June 28, 2017.

Arizona Corporation Commission Decision 76162

Archived supporting documents