Info differs on proposed water-fee increase in Pahrump area

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

The Great Basin Water Company disputes the information about a 36-percent rate increase for residential and commercial water usage that was included in the Public Utility Commission of Nevada’s June 1 news release.

The company made a certification filing that sought to reduce the overall requested increase on June 2. Tom Oakley, spokesman for Great Basin Water Company said that for sewer, the original filing was a 6.81 percent increase and in the Friday certification filing, that rate dropped to 3.66 percent.

“This is largely because of growth in current revenues under current rates due to more customers coming on to the system. Similarly, for water, the original filing was 11.86 percent and this dropped in our certification filing to 5.86 percent. Again largely due to customer growth in both count and usage,” Oakley said.

Oakley said that for instance, the average residential customer who uses 9,000 gallons per month will see their bill go from $36.05 to $38.98 — a $2.92 increase which is 8.1 percent and not 36 percent as was mentioned in the PUCN press release.

Peter Kostes, the commission’s public information officer, said that the entity typically uses the information from the original application. “In any case with public rates, there will be a hearing. A final rate can be higher and lower than what’s been proposed originally,” Kostes said

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The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada plans to hear public comments on Great Basin Water Company’s proposed 36 percent increase for residential and commercial water usage on Thursday.

The consumer session will be held at 6 p.m. at the Nye County Commission Chambers at 21oo East Walt Williams Drive in Pahrump.

“The hearing is to provide comments that will help determine the rates along with the staff and commission analysis and review of our financial data among other things,” said Tom Oakley, spokesman for Great Basin Water Company.

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. The company seeks to adjust its annual revenue requirement for water and sewer service rates to all classes of customers in the Pahrump division to recover money for completed projects.

Great Basin Water Company proposes to increase residential and commercial water usage charges by approximately 36 percent, officials said in a news release.

The proposed monthly fixed water charge for residential 1-inch meters would remain at $23.89.

The proposed monthly fixed sewer rates for wastewater operations would decrease from $46.26 to $39.77. Overall proposed commercial rates for wastewater would increase. Overall annual water rates would increase approximately 17 percent over a three-year period due to system improvements.

Oakley said the company is not looking to recover the money invested in Discovery Park formerly known as Willow Creek Golf Course.

“Some examples of the system improvements we have made are rehabilitating well 8, implementing GIS mapping, looping the water main for redundancy for the Desert View Hospital, generators for lift stations and booster stations, etc.,” Oakley said in an email.

Representatives from Great Basin Water Company will be on hand to answer questions about the company’s filing. Representatives from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection and Public Utilities Commission of Nevada Regulatory Operations Staff also will be present.

Public comment will be limited to the contents of the applications and may be limited to five minutes per speaker, according to the news release.

Peter Kostes, Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, said following a hearing, the presiding officer will issue a recommendation to the full commission to be considered at a utility agenda meeting.

“It’s likely that draft orders in the two dockets will be issued within a few weeks of the hearings, which means the draft orders will be heard at one of the agenda meetings in August,” Kostes said.

A resource-related plan hearing is scheduled for July 13-14, and the general rate case hearing is scheduled July 24-26.

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