LCWO to discuss new water rules

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LUCERNE Lucerne Community Water Organization (LCWO) will discuss a change in rate setting schedules by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at a 7 p.m. meeting Thursday, July 12, at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, 10th and Country Club in Lucerne.


California Water Service (CWS), Lucerne's corporate water supplier, last week notified public officials and community leaders of the change.


The company had been expected to file a company-wide rate increase request in August, but because of the CPUC schedule change now has an interim request pending for the Redwood Valley District's Lucerne customers. It would increase rates by 21.3 percent, effective on July 1, 2008, or later, and 3.4 percent the following year.


LCWO president Craig Bach said the Thursday agenda includes discussion of intervening in the current rate increase request.


LCWO was formed in September 2005 to intervene with the CPUC when CWS had requested a 273 percent increase in Lucerne rates. With the help of pro bono attorney Stephen Elias of Lakeport, it won approval for greatly reduced rates and discounts for low income residents.


The next company-wide increase requests will be filed in July of 2009, covering costs of its centralized services and district-specific operations that could result in rate changes effective January 1, 2011 or later. After the 2009 company-wide filing, rates (both centralized services and district-specific operations) will be reviewed every three years.


Cal Water also has a separate conservation-rate application pending before the CPUC. If approved, it would promote water conservation by setting lower rates for a base amount of water usage and higher rates as water usage increases.


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