The Residential Utility Consumer Office was established in 1983. Statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§40-461 et seq.
RUCO represents the interests of residential consumers and advocates on their behalf in regulatory proceedings that involve public service corporations before the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). RUCO conducts a preliminary review of each utility rate increase application submitted to the ACC to determine the impact on residential consumers. RUCO is authorized to intervene as an advocate for consumers and to testify at ACC hearings. The Director of RUCO is appointed by the Governor and must have knowledge of the regulation of utilities, and possess management and administrative experience. The Director serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
RUCO is required to maintain a record of all contacts made by consumers regarding quality or quantity of service in order to determine areas of general concern. RUCO is authorized to direct consumers to other agencies for assistance, including the Consumer Services section of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Funding for RUCO is provided through an assessment levied by the ACC against each public service corporation, according to A.R.S. §40-401.01.
Laws 1983, Chapter 308 established RUCO to “represent the interests of residential utility consumers in regulatory proceedings involving public service corporations before the Corporation Commission.” The Corporation Commission sets rates for electricity, gas, telecommunications, water and sewer utilities. The RUCO Director was authorized to appear on behalf of consumers before the ACC as a party in interest. A Residential Utility Consumer Board (Board) was established at the same time, consisting of five members appointed by the Governor to five-year terms. The Board was required to advise RUCO on all matters relating to public service corporation rate cases, and also had the authority to require the RUCO Director to withdraw any court action within five days of its filing. An annual report of activities and accomplishments was required to be submitted to the Governor and the Legislature by November 1 of each year.
Laws 1987, Chapter 222 required RUCO to record all contacts made by residential utility consumers in order to determine areas of general concern. The measure also allowed RUCO to direct consumers to other agencies for assistance.
Laws 1994, Chapter 73 exempted member-owned, nonprofit cooperative corporations from the annual assessment levied by the ACC. Prior to this enactment, only those corporations not holding certificates of convenience and necessity were exempt from the assessment.
Laws 2001, Chapter 133 repealed the RUCO Board and deleted statutory references to the Board.
Laws 2003, Chapter 104 repealed the requirement for RUCO to submit a report by November 1 of each year describing the activities and accomplishments of the office.
- Arizona Revised Statutes
- Session Laws
- Laws 1983, Chapter 308
- Laws 1987, Chapter 222
- Laws 1994, Chapter 73
- Laws 2001, Chapter 133
- Laws 2003, Chapter 104
- Auditor General Performance Review of the Residential Utility Consumer Office and Residential Utility Consumer Board. Reports No. 1986-6; 1989-6, 1999-10. www.azauditor.gov
- RUCO website: ruco.az.gov
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 29 – Arizona Corporation Commission. Related information may be included in this collection since RUCO represents consumers in regulatory proceedings before the Arizona Corporation Commission.