Lower the rates or lose us

[The following letter was sent to Golden State Water Company with a copy forwarded for publication. —KD]

Dear Golden State Water:

I received your letter in the COURIER dated April 16, 2013

The letter explained that we, the residents of the city, will have to pay much higher water rates when the city buys the water system, but it was, in fact, a message letting us know the offer for the system is too high.

Thank you for informing us, the residents of Claremont, that the city’s pre-eminent domain offer to buy the Claremont water system owned by Golden State is, in fact, 30 percent too high. We can now clearly see the price should be $36 million and not $54 million.

Eminent domain can occur with utilities when the government believes that the operator, left to his own devices, would behave in a way that is contrary to the community’s best interest.

You must think about why we, as a city, want to take control of the water system. Claremont has a great aquifer laying under its feet, which is fed by the runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains. It provides much, but not all, of our water for the price of pumping.

When the water system was owned by Southern California Water Company we enjoyed some of the least expensive rates in the area. Once Golden State bought the system, rates increased for the highest revenue enhancement available by the PUC. Obfuscation seems to rule the day now.

Claremont now has about the highest water rates in the state. I have endured a more than doubling of my rates over the last 5 years. Claremont is angry about the monopolistic profiteering Golden State Water has shown us.

Golden State Water, open your books and let us know why it is so much more expensive to run this water system than when your predecessor ran it. Lower our rates or risk losing the system.

Jim Coffman