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Santa Clarita Water Division to review tiered rate

Posted: February 4, 2013 7:29 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2013 7:29 p.m.

Santa Clarita Water Division’s tiered rate system is due to be reviewed at a meeting Tuesday night, a move prompted by the recent takeover of Valencia Water Co. by the Castaic Lake Water District.

The rates themselves won’t be examined during the meeting, said Mauricio E. Guardado, Jr., the water division’s retail manager.

“We’re only discussing the structure of a tiered water rate,” he said.

Looking at the best way to bill people for the water they use became an agenda item, he said, after a member on the division’s Retail Operations Committee suggested taking a comparative look at the “water budget” rate system used by Valencia Water Co.

In that system, ratepayers are allocated a “water budget” and have their rates assessed if they use more water than allocated to them.

Ratepayers with Santa Clarita Water Division, whose parent agency is Castaic Lake Water Agency, pay according to water usage as monitored on a tiered system, Guardado said.

Santa Clarita Water has more than 28,000 ratepayers. Formerly a separate water district called Santa Clarita Water Company, the retailer was taken over in 2000 by Castaic Lake — a water wholesaler that supplies state water to the Santa Clarita Valley.

State legislation was required to allow the wholesaler to buy a retail customer, and officials at the Castaic Lake Water Agency point to what they say is the success of that venture in justifying their recent purchase of Valencia Water Co.

Valencia Water was wholly owned by Newhall Land Development Inc.

The Santa Clarita Water Division collects more than $6.18 million more now from its ratepayers than it did in 2007, according to a rate sheet prepared for Tuesday’s meeting.

That works out to more than $1.23 million collected each year, on average, over the last five years.

The division, however, has taken on fewer than 90 customers each year during the same time — only 437 new customers since 2007.

A California Public Utilities administrative law judge last week put Castaic Lake’s purchase of Valencia Water on hold at least temporarily because the right paperwork wasn’t filed.

The PUC must approve the transfer of control of Valencia Water to the Castaic Lake Water Agency, and paperwork for that approval was not filed, a judge said.

The agency has until Feb. 14 to do so.

Santa Clarita Water Division’s Retail Operations Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 26521 Summit Circle in the Centre Pointe area of Santa Clarita.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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