Utilities charges (October 27, 2016)

We recently received our current Liberty Utilities bill and my wife questioned some of the add-on charges. So, she called the utility and asked about them and found that some were for undercharges for previous years. It seems to me this is a gross injustice to us ratepayers! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so much complaining about the utility for trying to recoup what they see as lost revenue. In fact these charges may even have been initially begun by Apple Valley Ranchos. My complaint is really with the California Public Utilities Commission.

The utilities must submit their requests for increase of rates to the CPUC, which has the authority to reject, reduce or approve of such rate changes. However, once the a rate is set that should be the end of it. But it appears to me that is not the case. I’m no expert in how the CPUC works, but it seems to me they should not allow any utility to come back after the fact and say, Hey, CPUC we didn’t get enough revenue for year x, y, and z, so we should be allowed to charge a surcharge to make up for lost revenue. When the CPUC gets such a request they should say, Sorry, we reviewed you original rate request and approved what we thought was fair at that time and we’re not changing it after-the-fact.

Now, I live in the real world and I know politics enters into everything these days, so I don’t expect justice for the ratepayers to prevail. The CPUC has never been a favorite entity for me. Just thought I’d point out that utilities are in the business of making a profit for providing a service but they’re not free to charge whatever they want indiscriminately. There always seems to be other fingers in the pie. You might think of this when you go to to the polls next month.

William Beattie, Apple Valley

Source: Daily Press