Apple Valley Citizens Speak Out at Public Hearing on Water Company Sale

Several hundred citizens of Apple Valley turned out for a hearing Monday in front of an administrative law judge from the California PUC. The judge is hearing evidence in the case of Algonquin Power, which wants to buy the Apple Valley water system.

Many speakers supported the takeover. However, most of those speakers were either employees of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company or their relatives. The so-called average citizens of Apple Valley came out as well. They came out on their own because they are interested in the case.

Most of the citizens said that whatever occurs in the case before the PUC, the relentless rate increases have to stop.

“I pay more for water than I do for gas and electric combined,” one man told the PUC judge.

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation, a Canadian Multinational is looking to buy Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. Since 2011, Apple Valley Ranchos has been owned by The Carlyle Group, a multinational hedge fund.

Many said they were suspicious of the motives of a public company.

As council member Scott Nassif said, “Why should our town and our people be leveraged for the profit of a multi-national company.”

The Town of Apple Valley is pursuing the possibility of purchasing the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company in order to gain local control over water and stabilize the ever-rising rates the Town has experienced over the past 10 years.

In a telephone survey of 400 people, more than two-thirds of registered voters surveyed in August 2014 said they would support or probably support the Town’s acquisition of the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC) after hearing pros and cons on the issue.

Investigation has shown that the operation of the utility under public ownership will be less expensive because of the elimination of profit, a guarantee of 9.70 percent that goes directly to out-of- town, international investors, headquartered in Washington, D.C.), elimination of various federal and state taxes and elimination of significant current corporate overhead costs.