Apple Valley Officials Warn that Liberty Utilities is Using Residents To Fund Investments

Apple Valley Officials Warn that Liberty Utilities is Using Residents To Fund Investments

APPLE VALLEY – Town of Apple Valley officials are upset by the recent developments with Liberty Utilities, the company who the Town says has drastically and without valid cause raised the rates of residents. Town officials have been anything but apprehensive with their warnings and dismay of the company’s handling of Apple Valley residents rate service rates. On Friday, May 19, 2017, when the Town officials became aware the Liberty was attempting to purchase another failing water company at an exorbitant price, they filed a protest with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)  against the purchase, citing that the acquisition may further burden, already burdened Apple Valley ratepayers.

Mesa- Crest Water Company is the new company that Liberty Utilities in now more than just eyeing. This water company has 709 connections in the La Cañada Flintridge area. The company prior to the talks of Liberty Utilities taking it over was under investigation by the CPUC. The investigation was sparked due to the allegation that the company was mismanaging funds and the officers are acting inappropriately. Part of the accusations was that the management salaries were increased beyond the CPUC-approved levels. In order to do this, it is alleged that money was borrowed from the water company using no interest loans with no repayment plan.

Part of the deal requires that Mesa-Crest deal with Liberty requires that two of the company’s officers are re-hired. These officers were paid and are expected to continue to receive their six-figure salaries. Town officials said that Liberty Utilities has also requested the CPUC not evaluate any environmental impacts of any actions taken

“I’m shocked the CPUC would allow this,” said Mayor Scott Nassif. “Liberty intends to buy another failing system and improve it with the profits it makes from Apple Valley customers. Worse still, Liberty is hiring back two members of the team that got this company in the state it’s in. Current ratepayers in the Liberty system will likely end up footing the bill for these employees.”

Town of Apple Valley Mayor Nassif said the recent approval of Liberty’s purchase of Yermo water system, who only had 250 services connections. The plans to invest in over $7 million for upgraded distribution, transmission, and storage facilities. “In one form or another, the costs of the Yermo system are being passed on to Apple Valley ratepayers.”

Town manager Frank Robinson said, “Now Liberty wants to do it all over again. They have their cash cow in Apple Valley and they are using our citizens to fund their purchases and expensive improvements of other water systems.”

Nassif added, “We have filed this protest to protect the interests of ratepayers in Apple Valley.”
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