Water utility oversight (July 10, 2015)

Apple Valley Town council member Scott Nassif’s recent letter implies that Apple Valley Ranchos gets to run things to suit itself, because it is governed by the loose oversight of the California Public Utilities Commission (It’s about rate stabilization, Daily Press, July 9, 2015).

This mendacious and potential libelous statement about the CPUC (and the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, which also has a say) is also misleading.

Put simply, Nassif’s statement seems to be meant to imply that because the CPUC and ORA sometimes grant rate increases in response to requests by Ranchos, that once these experienced and knowledgeable third-party professionals are out of the way, water users in Apple Valley will be better off because the same people evaluating rate increases will be the same people who are requesting the rate increases: The Apple Valley Town council.

It’s true that water rates have risen in Apple Valley, as they have elsewhere in the state. What Nassif and others on the Town council need to explain is why trash and sewer rates have gone up the same amount over that same period of time, even though the water system has undergone continuous expansion and improvements, while the trash and sewer systems have done no such thing.

This single fact is enough to show that Prop. 218 alone is no protection for the citizenry, when the Town council decides it wants more money, and that when that day comes, any pretext will do.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.