BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady has sent a complaint to the Arizona Corporation Commission, stating that EPCOR Water Arizona hadn’t been fully living up to an order issued by the ACC from EPCOR’s interim rate case.
The interim case, decided by the ACC earlier this year, affects all of the water company’s service districts across the state. It allowed EPCOR to raise water rates by 27% to 34% in the Mohave and North Mohave districts in Bullhead City.
Brady wrote that the EPCOR website left off some of the communities where people were potentially eligible for the low-income program — specifically North Mohave, Willow Valley and Anthem.
“Since the commission approved what I would consider outrageous interim rate increases, I as the mayor, have been verbally advocating that everyone eligible apply for this low-income discount of $10 per month,” Brady stated in a letter to the ACC’s Utility Division dated Monday.
Brady previously noted that Bullhead City poverty rate is at 22% and that this segment of the population can’t afford sharp increases in their living expenses.
A customer in the North Mohave district told Brady they found maneuvering through the website difficult but still managed to sign up online. However, the person read the list of districts eligible for the program and noticed his district wasn’t among them.
Brady asked in his complaint that EPCOR be ordered by the ACC to send a letter to every customer in the three districts letting them know about the website error that also provides correct information about applying for the program.
He asked that the ACC order EPCOR to correct the information on its website. EPCOR had done that by mid-day Wednesday, however, said Rebecca Stenholm, director of Public & Government Affairs for EPCOR USA.
“This was a simple clerical error,” Stenholm said. “No one has been turned away from the program.”
Along with the low-income program are two other assistance programs: One for disabled veterans and another for deployed service members, she noted.
For details about these programs, go to epcor.com and look for the Account & Billing menu. Open it, look to the right. Under the Paying Your Bill section is Assistance Programs. Each of the programs are featured on that page. Click on the specific box for details about that program.
There are 4,000 openings throughout the state for EPCOR’s low-income customer program. In Mohave and North Mohave alone, about 750 spaces are allocated. North Mohave has space for 131 of those customers. Add to that about 260 more from Willow Valley and Anthem.
That was hundreds of people potentially affected by the error.
The Mohave district was included in the program’s original website description.
Such a mistake makes the support and sensitivity for these customers expressed by Joe Gysel, president of EPCOR USA, seem to be not as high of a priority, Brady noted.
Gysel pledged in a full-page advertisement that has been featured in the Mohave Valley Daily News that Bullhead City’s water rates wouldn’t be consolidated with other communities in Arizona served by EPCOR.
Among other statements: local employees will continue to be available as needed to assist customers who have problems with their water and that the company will continue investing in the infrastructure of the local water delivery system.