Shooting the lawyers first (March 6, 2016)

While I have tremendous respect for Richard Rorex, I think he has overreacted to the latest water rate increase (Liberty Utilities, Daily Press, March 6, 2016).

First, he suspects the lawyers and accountants at Liberty Apple Valley of implementing a rate increase for the sole purpose of alienating citizens. As the announcement of this rate increase makes clear, though, the purpose is to maintain the viability of our water system. I quote:

While rates have increased, the total revenues authorized by the CPUC for Liberty Apple Valley in 2015 decreased by 5.5% compared to the revenues authorized for 2014. The rate increases were necessary to enable Liberty Apple Valley to pay the fixed costs of operating the water system, regardless of the amount of water sales. The majority of Liberty Apple Valley’s operating costs (70%) are fixed. Reductions in revenue due to lower water use mean rate increases are necessary to allow Liberty Apple Valley to recover the costs of providing safe and reliable water service.

Maintaining revenues in the face of falling demand is not just a problem in Apple Valley, as water system operators across the state have either raised rates for this reason, or are contemplating rate increases.

Rorex is correct that those on a fixed income will be hurt disproportionately, but even so, the actual dollar amount seems pretty affordable: Less than a dollar per month for those of us who are water wise.

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