By Sondra Murphy
High rates, poor service, deferred maintenance, perpetually failing pipes and brown water. These were the issues that Golden State Water Company customers brought to Thursday’s California Public Utilities Commission public participation hearing. The hearing was part of the long process surrounding GSWC’s rate increase application No. 07-01-013 in which the water company requests a nearly 44 percent rate hike in 2008.
About 100 people attended the hearing, with a quarter of those opting to comment, often to audience applause. CPUC inspector Victor Ryerson led the hearing, filling in for Administrative Law Judge Regina De Angeles, who is presiding over the process in northern California but was unable to attend.
“This hearing is providing a direct pipeline between Ojai and the CPUC,” Ryerson said. A transcript was taken for distribution to the departments of the commission that would be determining the outcome of the application.