Justia Arizona Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Utilities Law
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The Supreme Court held that the Arizona Corporation Commission may appoint an interim manager to operate a public service corporation (PSC) based on its permissive authority under Ariz. Const. art. XV, 3.Under article 15, section 3, the Commission has permissive authority to make and enforce reasonable orders for the convenience, comfort, safety, and health of the public. Concluding that it was necessary to protect public health and safety, the Commission appointed EPCOR Water Arizona as an interim manager for Johnson Utilities, LLC, an Arizona PSC. Johnson filed a special action seeking to enjoin its enforcement, but the court of appeals denied relief, holding that the Commission has both constitutional and statutory authority to appoint an interim manager of a PSC. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' opinion, holding that the Commission may appoint an interim manager based on its permissive authority under article 15, section 3 of the Arizona Constitution. View "Johnson Utilities, LLC v. Arizona Corp. Commission" on Justia Law

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Arizona Water Company (AWC), a utility company, sought a rate increase and proposed a step-increase mechanism that would allow the Arizona Corporation Commission to adjust rates between full rate cases. The rate increase mechanism, called the system improvements benefit (SIB), would allow AWC to petition for a rate increase between rate cases to help AWC recoup the cost of newly-completed infrastructure projects. The Commission approved the SIB mechanism with some modifications. The court of appeals vacated the Commission’s approval of the SIB mechanism, concluding that the SIB mechanism did not comply with the state Constitution’s mandate that “the Commission determine a public service corporation’s fair value when setting rates[.]” The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed the Commission’s orders approving the SIB mechanism, holding that the SIB mechanism complied with the Constitution’s mandate that the Commission determine the fair value of a utility’s property when setting rates. View "Residential Util. Consumer Office v. Arizona Corp. Comm’n" on Justia Law