The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is investigating Brooke Water LLC, a water system north of Parker, after customers experienced nearly three days without water service during triple-digit temperatures.
Brooke Water operates six water systems, providing service to nearly 2,000 customers in La Paz County. A valve failure in the company’s largest system caused breakages that resulted in hundreds of customers losing service.
At a special meeting, commissioners and other county and state officials expressed their concerns to Brooke Water owner Robert Hardcastle about a lack of communication from the company.
“Because we were unable to communicate, people were getting ready to mobilize to take over the water system,” ACC Chairman Doug Little said. “We had to address some very serious concerns on behalf of county supervisors and emergency management, and we have a responsibility to those agencies and officials. A little bit of communication would have gone a long way to making people feel more comfortable that the problem was being addressed.”
Commissioners also heard concerns from customers questioning the age and reliability of the system and service, as well as billing issues.
“The testimony we heard in this outage included a cancer patient who wasn’t sure they had running water,” Commissioner Andy Tobin said. “Someone has to stand (up) for the customers. Six agencies tried to contact the company, and those calls were ignored. The company is also operating on a rate plan that is 27 years old. I’m concerned about how this company moves forward and what plans they have to deal with upgrading the systems and communicating with us and their customers.”
ACC staff will be meeting with Hardcastle and determine if any further action is necessary. Staff will report back to the commission by Sept. 22.