payson water company putting in tanks

In November, the Payson Water Company put in a new storage tank in the community of East Verde Park. There were also water storage improvements in Mesa del Caballo.

What do higher rates, a refund and a low-income program have in common? The Payson Water Company — a private company that serves East Verde Estates, Mesa del Caballo, Tonto Basin and other small communities in Rim Country.

In letters mailed to customers, PWC announced changes in the wake of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s approval of a 50 percent increase in the water company’s rates.

The first letter announced a potential price break for qualified low-income families and deployed service members.

The second letter announced a six-month, $10.45-a-month refund program for Mesa del customers. Mesa del customers overpaid for a state Water Infrastructure Financing Authority loan taken out to build a pipeline from the Town of Payson’s C.C. Cragin water treatment plant to the Mesa del water system. WIFA had forgiven half of the loan it gave to PWC, but the company had not passed that savings on to customers.

Low-income and deployed

service members discount

Both the low-income and deployed service programs resulted from a rate case PWC filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission in May. That PWC case split the ACC vote. Commissioners Andy Tobin and Justin Olson both argued the 50 percent rate hike should be phased in over a period of three to five years — but they couldn’t muster a majority.

Instead, the commissioners voted for Sandra Kennedy’s amendment that would require PWC to “file tariffs for bill reductions for qualified low-income and deployed service member customers of the utility.”

The low-income program initiated by PWC will only save qualifying customers a maximum of $10, with a limit of 200 PWC customers.

Qualifying incomes range from $24,980 for a single person household to $69,180 for a household of six. For households with more than six people, “add $8,840 ... for each additional person,” wrote PWC in its letter.

PWC did not provide details on the Deployed Services Member Program other than to promise “a credit to deployed service members of the United States military who meet the program qualifications.” PWC asks those interested in filling out the applications to call 866-644-6771 or visit the company website at jwwater.net.

Refund for Mesa del

In a letter mailed only to Mesa del Caballo residents, PWC announced the ACC “ordered (PWC) to refund its customers of the MDC $24,354 in over-collected Water Finance Infrastructure Authority surcharge funds.”

WIFA is the state agency that loans money for water improvement projects.

MDC customers paid an additional cost because PWC took out a WIFA loan to cover the costs of building a pipeline from the C.C. Cragin water treatment plant to storage tanks in the community.

Until PWC brought in C.C. Cragin water, MDC suffered from yearly struggles to supply water during the dry summer months. MDC customers often had to pay fees that sometimes doubled their water bills to cover the cost of trucking in water.

A resident who paid the WIFA loan surcharge for the 61 months PWC charged it will see a $10.45 credit applied to their July through December bills for a total refund of $62.69.

Any former customers owed a refund will receive refund checks in the mail.

contact the reporter at: mnelson@payson.com

I cover the Town of Payson, courts, wildfire, business, families, non-profits, the environment and investigative reporting

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