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Valencia Water Co. Plans To Raise Rates For Customers

BY LEON WORDEN / SCVNEWS.COM

Valencia Water Co. is said to have the lowest rates among the Santa Clarita Valley’s four water retailers – but they won't stay as low as they are forever.

Valencia Water, newly acquired by the local state water distributor, Castaic Lake Water Agency, has filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission to raise water rates over the next three years.

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The CPUC regulates privately owned water companies and requires Valencia Water to file a rate plan every three years.

Unlike CLWA’s Santa Clarita Water Division, CLWA owns but for the time being, at least, does not directly operate Valencia Water. If it did, Valencia Water would be a public agency and wouldn’t fall under CPUC jurisdiction.

Under the proposed rate plan, household customers (both single- and multi-family) would see an average 13.9 percent rate hike in 2014, followed by another 3.2 percent in 2015. For instance, a residential customer now paying $20.99 per month would pay $24.12 next year.

Businesses would see an average 12.5 percent increase in 2014 (12.9 percent for industrial customers) and another 3.2 percent in 2015. Public authorities, such as schools and city and county offices, would see an average 12 percent increase in 2014 and another 3.2 percent in 2015.

The rate of increase for 2016 is yet to be determined; it would be based on CPUC’s escalator then in effect.

The rate increases are “intended to recover increased operating expenses and capital costs associated with delivering a reliable supply of water that meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water standards which are not recovered in present rates,” according to a notification.

The public can protest the rate hike by filing letters with the CPUC no later than Feb. 4. Protest letters should reference Application 13-01-003 and 13-01-004 and may be sent to California Public Utilities Commission / Public Advisors Office Suite 2103 / 505 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco CA 94102, or by email to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov. Questions about filing a protest should be directed to the same email address or by phone, 866-849-8390.

The CPUC might schedule a public hearing to address Valencia Water’s request but has not yet done so.