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Golden State Water rate increase approved by judge

The administrative law judge overseeing Golden State Water Company's case for a water rate increase has recommended that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) grant the water company a 16 percent revenue increase for 2013 in the company’s Region 3, which includes Claremont. The judge also recommended  a 2.7 percent increase in 2014 and 1.8 percent increase in 2015.

If given the final approval, these increased rates will help the water company reach $314.6 million in revenues in its Region 3, according to the decision published by the CPUC on Tuesday. A decision is expected at the CPUC's April meeting, according to officials. 

The CPUC has granted a higher rate than was settled upon by Golden State Water and the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) back in August. The 2 groups had reached a settlement of 15.1 percent in 2013, 2 percent in 2014 and 1.8 percent in 2015, according to a news release.

The privately-owned water company originally approached the CPUC in July 2011 to request a rate increase of more than 24 percent to take effect in 2013 with additional, smaller increases to be added in 2014 and 2015. The appeal was followed by a series of protests from the water company’s customers, many here in Claremont, upset about yet another set of rate increases. After several public hearings held in November 2011 and negotiations the following spring, the CPUC was charged with deliberating the final rate, which had been expected on January 1.

Just because the commission has not agreed upon the 2013 rates as of yet does not mean that Claremont residents get away with paying the old rates for the first several months of the year. A “shortfall surcharge” will soon appear on ratepayer’s bills because the CPUC has granted Golden State Water to make up for the loss of revenues.

The average Claremont residential customer with a 5/8-inch meter currently pays $60.98 per month for 9,724 gallons of water, and the average customer with a one-inch meter pays $138.34 per month for 19,448 gallons of water, according to Patrick Scanlon, Golden State Water’s vice president, operations in an interview with the COURIER in January. 

The COURIER will update the story has more develops.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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