51°F
weather icon Clear

Water and sewer rates: Pahrump residents say they can’t afford another hike

Pahrump residents denounced the rate hike proposed by the Great Basin Water Company at the hearing, as many said that they can’t afford increased rates for sewer and water.

On Jan. 17, Great Basin Water Company, formerly known as Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada, filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to adjust its annual revenue requirement for water and sewer rates for all classes of customers in the Pahrump division.

The company seeks a 5.86 percent rate increase in water and 3.66 percent increase in sewer.

In its original filing, the company requested a 6.81 percent increase for sewer and 11.86 percent for water, but the company representatives said that the company made a certification filing on June 2 to decrease the requested rates.

“We believe we put together a good case, and I think there will be a rate increase, but ultimately, that is up to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada,” said Wendy Barnett, president of the Great Basin Water Company.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection and the regulatory operations staff of the PUC are analyzing the request and will make recommendations to the commission and allow the Great Basin Water Company to reply to these recommendations.

The commission has yet to go through more investigations and hearings and could either grant or deny the request.

Barnett said the company had done about $5 million in capital improvements in Pahrump that included several emergency projects since the 2015 rate case when the company was granted a water rate increase and sewer rate decrease by the PUC.

Some of the projects that the company is seeking to recoup money for include rehabilitating well 8, implementing GIS mapping and looping the water main for redundancy for Desert View Hospital.

“These projects are very focused on water, we don’t even have the sewer project listed in this current integrated resource plan,” Barnett said. “These are things that the company has heard from the community, through the advisory committee on the groundwater management plan, through commissioners, through the Nye County Water District, through discussion with the state engineer on things that the utility can do to support basin 162.”

Residents protest hike

A few dozen customers of the Great Basin Water Company testified June 8 against the proposed rate hike, questioning why the company seeks to increase the rates.

Several commenters said that those who live in Comstock Park, a Pahrump community with many retirees and disabled veterans, said residents of the park will not be able to afford the proposed increase.

Pahrump resident Carol Curtis invited commissioners to drive through Comstock Park to evaluate properties.

“We have a critical situation, we are talking about increasing water rates to a community like that, and they really can’t afford that,” Curtis said.

Nye County Commission Chair Dan Schinhofen also spoke against the increase.

Pahrump resident Herman Lewis echoed Schinhofen’s comments, asking the commission to deny the proposed rate increase.

“You have to get a balance here because you are risking the most fragile, most at-risk sector of retired people, fixed income, disabled veterans,” Lewis said.

Schedule

The Great Basin Water Company is required under statute to file a general rate case every three years, officials said.

In a rate case, officials said, they put together all of the costs associated with the company, all of the expenses on an annual basis associated with operating the systems, both water and sewer, to determine what level of revenue the company needs to cover all of those costs. That amount is termed revenue requirement by the regulators and utility companies.

During the 2015 general rate case, the company went into decoupling, a methodology under which it would be going through the process to determine whether there was overcollection or undercollection of revenue, and will go before the commission to determine what the rates and credit would be.

The process is supposed to make sure the company adequately covers the costs of the water service provided to its customers and guarantee that it doesn’t overcharge its customers.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nevada Highway Patrol receives $100k public safety grant

By putting in additional efforts to combat drunk and distracted drivers along Silver State roadways, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division has received a grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety for targeted DUI enforcement campaigns during the coming year.

Fire restrictions lifted at Humboldt-Toiyabe

The ban and other restrictions, which previously applied only to federal lands such as the Humbldt-Toiyabe National Forest, have been expanded to all public lands in Nevada.

FDA pushes for reduction in salt in packaged foods, restaurants

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released guidance on Wednesday in an effort to reduce the amount of salt in food products at restaurants, school cafeterias and packaged and prepared foods. Food makers, however, are not obligated to take action in the voluntary guidance.

Social Security benefits to rise 5.9% in 2022

The Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living raise of 5.9% starting in 2022, the largest annual increase in 40 years. The rise, however, comes in the face of other increases in food, shelter and other goods.

Solar project discussion riles Pahrump citizens

The Pahrump Public Lands Advisory Committee had what may very well have been the biggest turnout the advisory body has ever seen before during its Tuesday, Oct. 12 meeting.

Pumpkin Days returns to Pahrump next weekend

Fall is in the air and for the town of Pahrump, that means it’s almost time for Pumpkin Days.

Adam Laxalt stumps in Pahrump

U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt made a stop in the valley last week, spending some time at local eatery Mom’s Diner to speak with area residents as he ramps up his campaign for the 2022 election.

Pahrump local’s Kids Costume Car Wash a success

Pahrump resident Shauna “Shay” Dragna and her three youngsters, Cayleigh, Caden and Conner, have spent the last month focusing on their very first public philanthropy project and though they entered into the endeavor without any previous experience and absolutely no idea how it might turn out, the results of their efforts are bearing some very positive fruit.

 
Cegavske won’t allow tax petitions off 2022 ballot

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has told Attorney General Aaron Ford in a letter the state constitution doesn’t allow for petitions to be withdrawn.