Liberty Utilities Sewer Rate Increase Request

When dealing with the utilities that provide services within our Town, the Town of Carefree has a responsibility to address the common interests of our residents and businesses. In doing so, we must also make sure that proper service is provided at a fair price. Liberty Utilities provides sewer service to much of Carefree and parts of north Scottsdale. Liberty Utilities has applied to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to increase rates by as much as 40+ percent.

Carefree has filed as an intervenor in this rate case assuring the Town a seat at the ACC rate case hearing scheduled to begin Sept. 16. During the rate hearing, Mayor Les Peterson will testify to reduce the proposed rate increases. In support of that effort, the Carefree Town Council unanimously approved a resolution detailing case background and expressing our unified commitment to secure the lowest possible rates for our residents and businesses. A link to the resolution can be found at: carefree.org/168/town-council

What can you do to stop this proposed $30 a month increase? Set aside 30 minutes and write a letter to the ACC expressing your thoughts. Letters matter. Write to:

Arizona Corporate Commission

1200 W. Washington Street

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Reference: Docket No. SW-02361A-19-0139

We are asking for good service at a fair price.

—John Crane

Vice Mayor, Town of Carefree

Smell Gone; Stink Remains: Revisited

Liberty Utilities Ratepayers: Beware A Hike is Coming…

Fellow Ratepayers, since my August letter, there have been additional positive developments in the Liberty Utilities sewer rate case scheduled to be heard in mid-September by the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC).

These are important developments because they are related to “head-to-head” financial opposition to Liberty’s justification for a 41 percent rate increase to residents and a 32 percent increase to the business community. Specifically, very highly qualified Financial Staff members of the ACC and the Resident Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) have a taken point by point opposition to Liberty Utilities’ Overall Rate Proposal. ACC Staff and RUCO Staff recommend the following adjustments to sewer rates:

Organization                           Percent Increase Proposed*

Liberty Utilities                                               35.53 percent

ACC Staff                                                       (0.57 percent)

RUCO Staff                                                    (3.29 percent)

*Note: these are net percentages and do not include the “rate case expense surcharge of $4.26/ month” which would increase the percentage to gross.

In addition, both the City of Scottsdale and the Town of Carefree have passed formal Resolutions opposing this proposed Liberty Rate increase!

Making the Liberty Utilities arguments suspect, the ACC staff written testimony noted that, “During Staff’s review of the Company’s (Liberty’s) support (documents), Staff found there was a lack of compliance with basic accounting principles…” Further, “ACC Staff would characterize the Company’s books and records as overly complex and convoluted.” And further, Staff stated, “The Company failed to provide the requested reports, records, and documentation for the costs the Company seeks to recover in this rate case.”

RUCO Staff in their written testimony, “estimates that approximately $4.9 million of Liberty’s excess cash has been moved upstream (to Canada) to APUC over the past five years…”

Note: APUC is Liberty’s Canadian parent Company.

Fellow Ratepayers: The Arizona Corporate Commissioners not only need to see the studied and learned opposition to this rate from the ACC’s own Staff, and from RUCO, they need to hear and see your words of protest. Please write to them at:

Arizona Corporate Commission

1200 W. Washington Street

Phoenix, AZ 85007

And be sure to note the Docket No. SW-02361A-19-0139

—Bob Moore



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