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City continues aggressive actions against imminent Claremont water rate hikes

Claremont Mayor Larry Schroeder and Mayor Pro Tem Opanyi Nasiali recently met with City Manager Tony Ramos and his staff to discuss the ongoing opposition to Golden State Water Company’s pending application before the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), according to a press release.

The publically traded water company is seeking to raise water rates by more than 25 percent in 2013. At the meeting, city attorneys provided updates on the legal actions being initiated or explored relative to the potential acquisition of the water delivery infrastructure.

“Our community is being held hostage by a broken regulatory system at the state level,” said Mr. Schroeder. “The current process does not provide adequate access for our ratepayer’s voices to be heard; instead, the public is required to put their blind trust in a handful of state bureaucrats.

“While Claremont continues to fight Golden State Water’s rate application, significant progress has been made regarding the appraisal of the water system for possible acquisition,” he said.

The Division of Ratepayers Advocate (DRA) recently announced it would recommend a 15.1 percent increase in 2013 for Golden State Water Company. The non-binding recommendation, which is clearly seen as a compromise between the water company and PUC staff, will next be reviewed by an Administrative Law judge before being sent to the governing body of the PUC for consideration. 

As the city of Claremont was filing a legal motion to oppose the DRA’s proposed settlement, Golden State Water’s parent company announced that its quarterly profits exceeded $15 million, stating that a portion of the profits are a direct result of increased rates in Claremont. 

“Finally, Golden State Water admitted something we have always known: they are profiting from and exploiting Claremont ratepayers,” Mr. Schroeder stated in the release. “For the DRA to suggest an increase for a publicly-traded company, while the ink on their earnings announcement isn’t even dry, highlights the desperate need for reform. I look forward to reviewing all options available to the council, including permanently eliminating Golden State Water as Claremont’s water service provider.”

Earlier this summer, the Claremont City Council directed city staff to explore all options available regarding the acquisition of the water delivery system from Golden State Water Company. 

It is anticipated that the appraisal of Golden State Water within Claremont will be available and presented to the city council in October.

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