The Arizona Corporation Commission has named Utilities Division Assistant Director Elijah Abinah as ombudsman of the newly formed Small Water Company Ombudsman Office.
The decision to create the office came from the June open meeting in which the commission adopted new polices to ensure safe, reliable water service to residents statewide. The office will offer more points of contact for small water companies -- especially those that are struggling, as is the case with some rural utilities.
“Elijah will be a strong leader in this role and will serve as a valuable asset for the commission, the utilities and the public in finding solutions to difficult water problems,” Chairman Doug Little said. “The struggling water companies need to have some assistance to be able to provide safe reliable water services.”
The Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) and the Arizonans for Responsible Water Policy group support the creation of an office to help small utility owners understand how to interpret and handle commission proceedings. The ombudsman will also help communicate with customers in dealing with water problems.
“Naming Elijah to this important position is a huge step forward in implementing the policies we adopted a little over a month ago,” Commissioner Andy Tobin said. “In my travels around Arizona, I have seen the struggles of small water companies first hand, which is why I proposed the creation of this office. With the ombudsman’s office up and running, we can make huge strides in solving existing crises and preventing future ones.”