The cost of misunderstanding (February 22, 2016)

There’s no use speculating as to motives, but it’s still odd that John Pedigo insists on taking simple concepts and then twisting the facts to the point where one can barely recognize the issues at hand (The cost of water, Daily Press, February 22, 2016). Let me take another shot at correcting the record, just in case he’s honestly confused.

Currently in Apple Valley, if you have a new water meter installed, Liberty Apple Valley pays for the meter and the installation, not the homeowner. Homeowners repay Liberty Utilities over the life of the meter (typically up to 20 years) for those costs as part of the bi-monthly bill. Should the Town of Apple Valley seize control of our water system, and assuming they implement some kind of connection fee, the costs of the meter and the installation (and whatever else) would have to be paid up front. To get the true cost of your water, you would have to add all meter-associated costs to the amounts of your water bills, and then divide by the quantity of water used.

To couch this a different way, you can buy a new Apple iPhone 6s with a monthly payment that includes both the cost of the phone and the cell service. Or, you can buy one outright for $649, and then add a cellular plan. The second option may give you a lower monthly bill, but only because you had to come up with a bunch of money out of pocket on signing up. If you don’t factor in the cost of the phone, you are not really getting the full picture of what the second option costs you, all things considered.

As for what the CPUC said about the rate increases, I’ll quote them again: [A]n average residential customer that achieves the conservation goals set by the Governor’s Executive Order will see its bill increase by $3.41 and 2.64 percent only. Bills come out bi-monthly. There is no mention of monthly increases. Because Pedigo and his neighbors are below average in water use, this rate increase applies to them, not the 30 percent figure (which is actually 28.7 percent) bruited about by the Town.

As for guaranteed profits, this is another myth promoted by the Town. I invite everyone to view the 2011 video of the Blue Ribbon Water Committee being corrected on this very point. If you can’t find it, it is available here.

Finally, that article about allegations of paid shills made the facts very clear: There is no legitimacy to this claim by the innumerate Assistant Town Manager Marc Puckett. The article also says, Liberty Utilities is not paying residents of the Town to file public records requests. I’ll add that neither was Apple Valley Ranchos, before the name change. Anyone who bothers to look at the documentation that the Town provided in support of this claim will see that the lion’s share of the monies spent are for document requests by law firms, and many of the citizen requests have nothing to do with the water issue. Be that as it may, these are public records, which means the public is supposed to have access to them.

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