Why AVRWC is not a monopoly (September 22, 2015)

The monopoly accusation is one of the Big Lies put out by TOAV. The private monopoly accusation is a bizarre extension of that lie. There is no such thing as a private monopoly, except in the case where a company is the only one that has any interest in providing a given product or service, and these are only virtual monopolies because anyone else could enter the market if they wished. All other monopolies are by definition government-protected, because otherwise anyone could start providing that product or service and compete for customers. In the case of water utilities, electrical utilities, sewer utilities, and (formerly) cable and telephone utilities, the investments in infrastructure needed to provide the service (and the blight that would come from having multiple competing services) make an argument for authorized service areas, which is not the same as a monopoly. Thus, AVRWC is not a monopoly — public or private. It’s not even the only way to get water! In fact, the only true monopoly in town is the Town government.

Here are the facts:

Ranchos’ authorized Service Area is granted and regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Ranchos’ official Service Area Map is part of Ranchos’ CPUC-approved tariffs and any desired additions to Ranchos’ Service Area first must be approved by the CPUC.

AVRWC does have a Franchise Agreement with the Town but that agreement does not govern Ranchos’ Service Area; the Franchise Agreement allows Ranchos, in exchange for several hundred thousand dollars per year in franchise fees paid annually to the Town, to place water facilities (water pipes, etc.) in public rights of way within Town boundaries.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.