CPUC water rate increase hearing set for Monday night

Claremont residents and Golden State Water ratepayers are invited to speak on Monday, December 8 at the upcoming California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) public hearings regarding the water company’s current rate increase application.

Testimony on the proposed rate increase will be heard during two public hearings in Claremont. The hearings will be held at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Taylor Hall, located on the corner of Indian Hill Boulevard and Scripps Drive.

Each hearing could last anywhere between one to three hours, and the time allotted to each speaker will be determined by how many people are in attendance at each hearing.

Administrative Law Judges Douglas M. Long and Rafael L. Lirag were assigned to the Golden State Water rate case in August. Either, or both, will appear at Monday’s hearings, according to CPUC Information Officer Andrew Kotch. The Administrative Law Judge takes in the comments from the parties participating in this proceeding, bringing them back to the CPUC to ensure the deliberation process is fair and equitable to both the company and the consumers

“No decision will be made at the hearing,” Mr. Kotch said in an interview with the COURIER. “The Administrative Law Judge will converse with the assigned commissioner throughout the rate-setting process. However, it’s the commissioner who will make the final decision on whether to approve or reject a proposed decision submitted by the Administrative Law Judge.”

It’s a lengthy process, taking up to 18 months to reach a final decision, he said.

According to the CPUC website, Golden State Water Company began the rate-setting process in July 2014 when they applied for an order to authorize the water company to decrease rates for water service by $1,615,400 or -0.50 percent in 2016, to increase rates by $10,280,800 or 3.21 percent in 2017; and increase rates again by $10,303,200 or 3.12 percent in 2018.

Additionally, Golden State Water is proposing a fourth rate tier and reducing the usage allowance in the first three tiers.

In December 2011, Judge Richard Smith from the CPUC heard five hours of testimony from more than 100 disgruntled Claremont customers of Golden State’s Region 3.

“When your water bill is more than your car payment, there’s something terribly wrong,” said Claremont resident Gil Dickason at the time. “It’s beyond a felony. This is a felony rate.”

For more information on the rate-setting process, visit the CPUC website at www.cpuc.ca.gov.

—Angela Bailey



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