City officials discuss consolidation issues with EPCOR in Canada
BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City officials traveled to Canada last week to meet with EPCOR executives regarding issues related to the utility’s proposed rate case and consolidation.
Mayor Tom Brady, City Manager Toby Cotter and City Council Member Mark Clark met Friday at EPCOR Tower in Edmonton with Stuart Lee, president and chief executive officer for EPCOR, and Joe Gysel, president of EPCOR USA Inc., which oversees EPCOR Water Arizona.
“We talked about a multitude of issues related to the rate case and to the consolidation to see if there are any ways to work together for the residents of our community,” Cotter said. “I believe we had that; they agreed to provide some information to us and we agreed to meet again very soon.”
The city and EPCOR both explained their position and both sides had to make some concessions as to how to work better together to benefit the residents of the city, Cotter said.
“We had a positive, productive and cordial meeting with Bullhead City officials,” Gysel said in an email response. “The bottom line — we both care deeply about what’s best for Bullhead City residents. EPCOR remains dedicated to our Bullhead City employees, their families, and the community and customers we serve, and we look forward to keeping the dialogue open and constructive.”
In April, City Council members voted to pursue a feasibility study on the acquisition of EPCOR Water Arizona’s assets and service within Bullhead City after the utility filed a rate case with the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utility rates. Hearings in the rate case were completed recently and an administrative law judge will compile the testimony and exhibits and present a recommendation to be heard by the five elected members of the ACC this fall.
“We talked about what we felt were the inequities of the consolidation and we asked for some additional considerations as part of an overall philosophy with the river communities, primarily the Mohave and North Mohave systems here in Bullhead City,” Cotter said. “What we’ve been arguing against for many months now is the consolidation and how the consolidation is not equitable for the residents of Bullhead City.”
EPCOR will review some of the modeling used in the consolidation, the city manager said.
“We’ve agreed to share some information that we weren’t sharing before and it also means that we’re going to work together,” Cotter said.
The city has objected to, among other issues, EPCOR’s proposed power purchase adjustors, water purchase adjustors, tax adjustors, rate case fees, system improvement surcharges and property tax adjustors, in addition to water delivery costs, power costs and water purchase costs, all of which would be added costs on water bills in addition to the proposed base rate increase should the ACC accept the rate increase and consolidation as proposed.
“We hope that through these discussions we can all do what’s best for the residents and the rate payers of Bullhead City,” Cotter said. “That’s the goal we have, that’s the goal we’ve always had — we care about our residents and the dollars they spend on everything, all of their utilities. We know that we have people in this community on fixed incomes and we care — and I believe EPCOR cares as well.”