Anthem’s east-side residents will see water rates rise 36 percent, on average, starting April 1, based on the Arizona Corporation Commission’s March 28 approval of new interim rates. The rates will be in effect until a permanent rate case is decided, likely a year or more from now.
[UPDATE 4/24/19: Subsequent analysis put the increase at 35.1 percent.]
Each customer’s actual rate will be based on usage, with the average assuming a customer uses 7,000 gallons per month with a 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch meter. The change does not affect the wastewater portion of the bill.
EPCOR had initially proposed a higher increase for Anthem as part of a permanent rate case that the commission did not pass.
This time, Chairman Bob Burns and commissioners Boyd Dunn and Sandra D. Kennedy voted in favor. Commissioners Andy Tobin and Justin Olson voted “no.”
“While any increase is unacceptable in our opinion, the final result is better than the 59 percent increase that Anthem ratepayers were facing just a few months ago,” said Kristi Northcutt, Director of Public Affairs for the Anthem Community Council. Northcutt and Board President Roger Willis have represented Anthem as interveners in the case, along with reps from 10 other EPCOR districts in Arizona.
EPCOR has until May 1, 2020 to file a new case, using 2019 as a test year to establish new rates that will replace the interim rates, Anthem Community Council said in a statement. That case is not likely to be decided before late 2020, given the history of these cases.
With the April 1 increase, some individuals can seek assistance from EPCOR via programs for low-income customers, disabled veterans and deployed-service-member families.