SGV water rate hike proposed

PASADENA, Calif. The Pasadena Star News reports the California American Water company is asking for state approval of a 56 percent rate hike. It would amount to an increase of about $17.12 a month for consumers.

Company officials say the increased revenue is needed to pay for infrastructure improvements and to purchase water.

California American Water provides service to 28,000 households and business. The company's service district includes parts of Bradbury, Duarte, El Monte, Irwindale, Monrovia, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino and Temple City, as well as some unincorporated sections of L.A. County.

The cities are divided into three water districts supplied by California American Water. Rate hikes would vary among the Duarte, San Marino and Baldwin Hills districts.

Under the company's plan, residents in the Duarte district would see the biggest hike in their bills. Rates would go up 56 percent in 2010, increasing from an average of $30.50 to $47.55 a month. A second 4 percent increase, amounting to about $1.89 a month would be added in 2011.

Rates in the San Marino district would be raised 31 percent in 2010, with a 3.5 percent increase in 2011. Baldwin Hills district residents would see their water rates soar 37 percent in 2010, followed by a 3.3 percent increase in 2011.

Former Duarte mayor Robert Davey calls the proposed rate increases, " outrageous."

The company says it needs the rate hikes to cover capital improvements necessary for a safe and reliable water supply. Company Operations Manager Garry Hofer says parts of the water system are malfunctioning because they are close to 70 years old.

Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica based consumer rights group, says it's up to the state to decide whether the rate hike should be allowed. The consumer group also says California American Water's rates won't be out of line with rates in the rest of the region if the increases are approved.

The California Public Utilities Commission must review and approve the rate increases.

California American plans to hold community hearings on its proposed rate hikes in May. They'll be held at the Duarte Community Center, San Marino City Hall and the Ladera Sheriff's Service Center.

The Pasadena Star News contributed to this story.



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