BULVERDE — The Coalition for Equitable Water Rates (CEWR), a ratepayers’ group fighting a proposed 71 percent water-rate hike, said in a press release that it presented arguments recently in a formal hearing of its rate case against Canyon Lake Water Service Co. (CLWSC).
During the hearing, held Aug. 22-23 in Austin, both parties provided facts and recommendations to state administrative law judges to determine whether CLWSC should be able to collect $1 million in rate case costs from ratepayers, CEWR said.
CLWSC’s ratepayers are now awaiting a final rate order by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The final order is expected next February, after TCEQ receives a December “proposal for decision” from the administrative law judges presiding over the case, CEWR said.
If, in the final rate order, CLWSC is not awarded at least 51 percent of its requested increase, the utility may not recover its costs of defending the rate increase by directly billing the ratepayers in future water bills, CEWR said.
At the hearing, both TCEQ and CEWR recommended that CLWSC not be allowed to collect any money from the ratepayers to pay its rate case costs.
CEWR said it has, to date, spent approximately $135,000 appealing the proposed rate increase. If the increase is OK’d by the state, a customer using 10,000 gallons of water would see a water bill of $136 per month, according to CEWR.
Sattler-based CLWSC, the largest water supplier in western Comal County, serves some 36,500 residents on 10,000 service connections in a historically water-short area. It was formed locally in the mid-’90s and has since been investing to expand with new water plants and pipelines to accommodate growth in Bulverde, officials have said.
In 2005, CLWSC was purchased by SJW Corp., a California corporation. SJWTX Inc., a subsidiary of SJW Corp., is doing business as CLWSC in a service area comprising about 237 square miles.
CLWSC gets about two-thirds of its water supply via purchases of water from Canyon Lake through the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. The rest comes from approximately 30 active wells tapping the Trinity Aquifer.