Residents of the Apple Valley community turned out in force to protest the 30%-plus rate hike proposed by the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVR).
AVR is owned by an international hedge fund, The Carlyle Group, who bought the Park Water Company in Downey in 2012 (AVR was owned by Park).
Apple Valley Ranchos is requesting a change in its monthly service charge from $22.84 to $23.46. It also seeks to increase its Tier 1 charge for residential water from $2.48 to $2.91 for a unit of 748 gallons, but the tier cap is moving down from 13 to 12 units, which will further penalize single-family homeowners (as they are the only property type on the tier system).
Over 400 people attended the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting held on April 30. Administrative Law Judge Douglas Long presided over the hearing for the commission.
Also present were representatives from Park Water Company (parent company to Apple Valley Ranchos Water), and the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.
Park Water Company representative Edward N. Jackson, read in a monotone voice a pre-written statement and barely looked up at the crowd during his speech.
Jackson’s talk was basically a sales pitch on how water is delivered, and how important it is to fire protection. Other highlights included references to the aging infrastructure and how it has a limited life expectancy, and how water is a huge “bargain” at a penny-a-gallon.
A spokeswoman from the Office of Ratepayer Advocates spoke about what that office does, which is to critically look at the rate hike request and analyze all data to determine whether it is fair. The report was due before the meeting, but was not “finished” and therefore not provided to those attending the meeting. This came off as a lack transparency to the audience.
Many people got up and spoke about their experiences with AVR and complained about high bills, the “monopoly” due to no other option for water delivery. Also, there is a moratorium on digging wells in the area, which prompted people to suggest that everyone in the area start getting water delivered in order to protest the AVR rate hike.
Other comments included comparisons with other water company prices in the state, and how the community has, through water conservation efforts, reduced their water usage by 30%, only to be gouged with a 34% rate hike over three years. Also brought up was the cost of the AVR “educating” the public through water conservation fairs and mail-outs, therefore giving customers a double-whammy.
People complained about the Cash for Grass program, like how little is paid for taking out grass when compared to how much it costs to replace it with either rock or fake grass (pennies on the dollar).
Afternoon and evening hearing sessions were well-attended, with about 400 people between the two. Only 40 people per session were allowed to speak about their rate hike protests. There were no speakers who defended the hike, but there were many that talked of hardships paying the bills, mostly from seniors and disabled attendees.
It wasn’t uncommon to hear about $500 to $700 bi-monthly water bills. Some referred to a huge jump in their rates after an electronic (smart ?) water meter was installed on their properties. (This is news to this newspaper, and we will be looking into this issue in conjunction with the electric smart meter issue in future editions).
E.T. Snell got up in a clown outfit, prompting shout-outs from the audience during some of the other speakers’ comments, such as “that explains why the clown is here.”
Snell brought up the Illuminati, and other speakers brought up the Carlyle Group’s ties with the Osama Bin Laden and Presidents Bush.
We decided to check out those comments, and sure enough, by doing some research on the Internet, it’s not hard to find references to the Bush and Bin Laden family members being past and/or present share owners of the Carlyle Group.
Of course, you can’t believe everything you hear on the Internet, but a group called the The Halliburton Agenda put a video on You Tube in 2008, asking “Who gained from 9/11?” The video can be viewed at:
Following are some of the observations made by the Halliburton Agenda:
The Carlyle Group is a multi-national conglomerate that invests in heavily government regulated industries, like telecommunications, healthcare and particularly defense.
Both George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, worked for the Carlyle Group, along with Osama Bin Laden’s half brother (looking after his family’s investments).
The group purchased weapons companies just as the U.S. started to increase their defense investments. With all the weapons companies it owned, it was the 11th largest in the world. United Defense was guaranteed to have a good year. Just six weeks after 9/11 the Carlyle made a $237 million profit in one day.
George W. Bush stayed at the company for another two years after this. It’s also discomforting to note that, as an ex-president, he still receives daily privileged briefings.
Remember, the above are not this newspaper’s comments, but are taken from the video made by the Halliburton Agenda group.
If you would like to contact Park Water Company to make comments on the upcoming rate hike controversy:
Edward R. Jackson, (562) 923-0711 or (562) 861-5902, or email: ed .email@example.com.
Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company Office, 21760 Ottawa Road, Apple Valley, CA 92307 or at the offices of its parent company, Park Water Company, 9750 Washburn Road, P.O. Box 7002, Downey, California 90241.
The application may be reviewed at the Central Files Office of the California PUC at 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to noon daily.