Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Water rates hearing planned in Lucerne March 4

LUCERNE – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a March 4 public participation hearing on California Water Service Company's (CWS) current rate increase proposal in its Lucerne district.


The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, 10th and Country Club Dr., Lucerne.


Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey O'Donnell will be present to receive public comments.


CWS seeks CPUC authorization of rate increases of $70,592,000 or 16.75 percent in test year 2011; Jan. 1, 2012, by $24,777,000 or 5.04 percent; and Jan. 1, 2013, by $24,777,000 or 4.79 percent.


The case is A.09-07-001 on the CPUC Web site, http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/water .


The Lucerne Community Water Organization (LCWO) is circulating petitions asking the CPUC to reject the rate increases on the grounds that the community can't afford to pay any more for water.


CWS reported on Jan. 27 that its board of directors has declared the company's 260th consecutive quarterly dividend, increasing the annual dividend from $1.18 to $1.19. This represents the company's 43rd consecutive annual dividend increase. The quarterly dividend of $0.2975 per common share will be payable on Feb. 19 to stockholders of record on Feb. 8.


In 2005, when CWS asked for a 246 percent rate increase, LCWO formed to protest the increase and intervene in the ratemaking proceedings.


With the free legal help of Lakeport attorney Stephen Elias the approved increase was 120 percent and low-income relief measures were adopted which made the increase about 64 percent for ratepayers who qualified.


The organization did not intervene in subsequent increases and will not this time, according to Craig Bach, a Lucerne electrician who was president of LCWO in 2005 and later.


“We can't afford to intervene and don't have time,” he said Wednesday. He said the core group of members is no longer active because one, Ed Moore, has died and others are pursuing different interests.


Judge O'Donnell said anyone who wants to file a motion to intervene in the case must do so very quickly because “Intervenor pre-served testimonies are due to be served later this month. The schedule will not be revised to accommodate new intervenors.”


He added “The March 4 hearing in Lucerne is a public participation hearing. The purpose is to hear from customers about the application. Customers do not need to intervene in the proceeding to give their comments at the public participation hearing.”


The CPUC hearing will be held in San Francisco April 26 to May 10.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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