Arizona Supreme Court authorizes wastewater consolidation

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona Supreme Court upheld utility regulators’ decision to allow consolidation of multiple communities into a single wastewater service district with tariff increases or decreases in different parts of the new district to make them uniform.

The judge’s ruling on Friday said the rates approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission for the consolidated district do not violate a state constitutional provision prohibiting discrimination in rates paid by customers and locations in similar circumstances.

The case involved districts in Maricopa and Mohave counties which EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. consolidated into one district.

The Sun City Home Owners Association and a state consumer advocacy agency had intervened in the regulatory matter, opposing full consolidation and pushing to maintain separate rates for service areas.

The Sun City Group appealed the commission’s decision to the state’s Court of Appeals. He ruled for the commission and said the commission had properly reviewed the case and the approved rates were not discriminatory.

The Supreme Court agreed but overturned the lower court’s finding that the commission’s actions should be presumed to be constitutional.

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