Far West rate meeting at Gila Ridge High
The Arizona Corporation Commission has finalized its Yuma meeting on the proposed Far West Water & Sewer rate increase.
Commissioners will take public comment on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at Gila Ridge High School, 7150 E. 24th St.
The ACC agreed to come here to get customer input after receiving many messages from Foothills residents interested in airing their concerns closer to home. The commission usually meets in Phoenix, where it's headquartered, or in Tucson.
Far West approached the ACC last summer seeking to raise its residential customers' sewer bills from $21.75 per month to $62.65, or an increase of 188 percent. The utility says its financial condition is “grim” after more than $20 million in improvements to its wastewater treatment system and the higher cost of doing business.
Customer interest in the proposed rate hike is high. As of Monday, the ACC had posted about 140 letters and messages of opposition from Far West customers to its website.
Commissioners also saw a keen customer base when Far West last tried – and ultimately failed – to increase its sewer rates in 2009. A local public comment session held at an elementary school cafeteria drew an overflowing crowd of more than 800. The Gila Ridge auditorium seats more than 1,300 people.
In addition to the upcoming meeting in Yuma, the ACC is scheduled to hold an evidentiary hearing on the rate proposal on April 22 at the commission's offices in Phoenix.