The California Public Utilities Commission is hosting two public participation hearings in Apple Valley to discuss public opinions and concerns regarding the purchase of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company by Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp., a Canadian company.
Algonquin has proposed to purchase Park Water Company, which currently owns Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company along with other water companies under Western Water Holdings LLC, a Carlyle Group company. Should this purchase be finalized, Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company will be owned and operated by Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation and its subsidiary, Liberty Utilities, based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
The Town of Apple Valley has expressed a strong interest in purchasing Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company in order to gain local control that will help moderate customer rates, which have soared in the last 10 years.
The public is encouraged to attend two public hearings to discuss the purchase process and voice their opinions on the potential purchase. The hearings are scheduled on:
• Date and Time: March 16, 2015, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
• Location: Town of Apple Valley Conference Center, 14975 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley, CA
“If the merger and acquisition is finalized, the Town will not know beforehand how the water company purchase will affect ratepayers, because the potential buyers refuse to produce documents to the Town,” said Town Manager Frank Robinson. “The Town is interested in maintaining and providing quality and reliable services to our residents and ratepayers.”
Robinson also points out that the acquiring utilities have no experience operating a water system in California and do not have vested interests to the residents or ratepayers. “We are interested in knowing what measures the Commission will take to ensure ratepayers are not paying for the overpriced offer submitted by Algonquin and Liberty.
“The Commission must ensure that the regulatory commitments identified in the merger application, including the commitment that the cost of the transaction will not be passed on to ratepayers, are enforceable and that the utility has the affirmative obligation to show compliance.”
Public comments, which will be part of the official record, will be recorded and/or collected at the meetings. Information on the Town’s acquisition efforts can be found at www.AppleValleyH2Ours.org.