CPUC green lights 28.7% rate increase by AV Ranchos
The typical household served by Apple Valley Ranchos will see its water bill go up 28.7 percent – or more than $200 per year – based on normal water usage, according to a proposed rate-making decision by the California Public Utilities Commission. The proposed decision could be adopted as early as November.
Even households that reduce water usage by 28 percent – the conservation goal set under Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought order – will see their annual water bills go up, according to the decision.
The decision is another example of the CPUC green-lighting AVR rate increases on the backs of Apple Valley residents,” said Barb Stanton, Apple Valley Mayor Pro Tem. “The cost of water in our Town is significantly higher than in any of our neighboring communities, for no other reason than to meet the profit expectations of our private water company’s investors. The fact that the CPUC enables this year after year makes the situation all the more troubling.”
Under the CPUC decision, a residential customer using 16.45 hundred cubic feet per month will see its monthly bill jump by $18.27, an increase of 28.7 percent. Even an average household that meets the 28 percent reduction standard will see its monthly bill increase by $3.41.
These increases are in addition to a recently imposed drought surcharge placed on customers by AVR. The surcharge adds another $2.84 to a customer’s bill for every hundred cubic feet of water used per month above the allocation set by AVR.
The Town has fought AVR’s latest rate increase proposal since it was announced in 2014. As a result of the Town’s intervention, more than $13 million in new facilities and expensive replacement projects that would eventually have been paid by ratepayers were not approved. In addition, the rates approved by the proposed decision are not as high as AVR had initially requested.
In the meantime, the Town is considering acquisition of AVR after years of excessive rate increases and surcharges. This summer, the Town announced that it has made an offer of just compensation totaling $50.3 million – an amount determined by the Town’s valuation expert to represent the fair market value of the water system.
Recent public opinion polling shows that 70 percent of residents support acquisition. Visit www.avH2Ours.com for more information.