TOAV opposes water rate hikes (April 28, 2014)

Hearings set for Wednesday as AV Ranchos seeks increases

APPLE VALLEY · The town is urging customers of a large water supplier to protest rate hikes at two hearing sessions set for Wednesday.

Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. is seeking rate hikes of 14.88 percent in 2015, 8.48 percent in 2016 and 8.19 percent in 2017 from the California Public Utilities Commission.

This is not the first time rates have been raised, Mayor Art Bishop said in a statement. Apple Valley Ranchos has proposed, and been granted, rate hikes numerous times during the past decade. The proposed hikes would be difficult for many in Apple Valley to afford.

During the most recent Town Council meeting Tuesday, the water company was noted as historically linked to the town’s growth but cast as no longer a friend or partner to the community.

I’m actually very disappointed to hear a statement like that from the town, Apple Valley Ranchos Assistant General Manager Tony Penna said. We’re always willing to listen to their thoughts on what would make us a better partner.

Penna said the water company is subject to PUC regulations and must project four years in advance its anticipated operating costs for repairs on its 465 miles of pipeline, pumps, and storage tanks.

He said a goal of the upcoming three-year rate cycle also is to increase water flow for fire protection and invest in efficiencies for more cost-effective water distribution.

Customers of the water company are billed bimonthly.

After an information session to inform the public of the town ‘s stance on the issue Tuesday, the council authorized Town Manager Frank Robinson to enter into professional- and consulting-services contracts related to Apple Valley Rancho’s rate-hike application.

The town, a customer of the water company and recognized as a party to the matter by the assigned administrative law judge, is expected to speak against the rate hike.


Source: Gary Brodeur, Daily Press