PRLog (Press Release)
- Mar. 4, 2011 -
February 25 – The Coalition for Equitable Water Rates (CEWR) has been successful in reaching a negotiated agreement with Canyon Lake Water Service Company (CLWSC) for an interim water rate of 38% while awaiting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) final judgment on Canyon Lake Water Service Company’s (CLWSC) request for a cumulative 71% water rate increase. This effectively freezes the current rate increase at the 38% level, delaying any additional rate adjustment until the outcome of CEWR’s challenge before the TCEQ, which may take as long as to March of 2012. Without this agreement, CLWSC customers would have experienced the full impact of the 71% increase on their April bills.
On August 27th, 2010, CLWSC filed a request with the TCEQ for a 71% water rate increase to be implemented using a “two tiered” approach: an initial 38% rate increase going into effect in October of 2010 (during the period of lowest customer water consumption)
and a second increase on March 15th of this year totaling 71%. Texas law allows water utilities to implement their proposed increases, while awaiting a final ruling by the TCEQ. The CEWR challenged by filing on behalf of CLWSC’s ratepayers for a hearing to set a lower interim rate while awaiting the TCEQ’s final decision. An interim rate hearing was to have been held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on March 24th, 2011 requiring arguments from both sides of the case. On February 17th, CEWR extended an offer to CLWSC to initiate negotiations for an interim rate agreement. After a week of talks, an agreement was reached between CEWR and CLWSC. The agreement, filed before the TCEQ in a joint motion by CEWR and CLWSC, will save both parties from a costly court hearing while attempts are still being made by CEWR to negotiate a fair rate settlement. (Final ruling by the ALJ and TCEQ is expected to take as long as March of 2012. After the final water rate is ordered by TCEQ, a validation of ratepayer’s billings must be accomplished to determine if CLWSC must refund any overbilling to the ratepayers or if additional charges for under billing to customers are required.)
CEWR has filed legal challenges to the amount of CLWSC’s proposed increase and continues to attempt to negotiate a more equitable rate for CLWSC’s customers. CEWR plans to focus on fundraising, gathering documentation, and digging into CLWSC’s books over the next few months to strengthen its case. Two public forums have been scheduled by CEWR for next month on March 16th and 17th to update CLWSC ratepayers on the status of the challenge and provide them with the latest information.
(For CEWR’s Public Forum schedule information please go to www.cewr.net)
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The Coalition for Equitable Water Rates (CEWR) is a non-profit organization of local residents representing residential and business interests to insure that fair and competitive water rates are provided by the Canyon Lake Water Service Company.