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Water Rates Hearing Set for Tonight in Thousand Oaks

State agency will take comments on Cal-Am's plan to reduce monthly bills starting Jan. 1.

June 29, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

The state Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a public hearing tonight in Thousand Oaks to discuss plans by the city's largest water company to adjust rates.

California-American Water Co. -- which serves more than 20,000 households in Thousand Oaks, mostly west of Moorpark Road -- has asked permission to lower its monthly rates for an average customer by $3.40 to $50.28 beginning Jan. 1.

Cal-Am told the commission it wants to cut an additional seven cents off monthly bills in 2006 and add a penny back the following year, for a monthly charge of $50.22. The commission is seeking comments on rates, water quality and customer service before it votes on the company's rate request this fall.

City officials opposed the sale of Cal-Am's parent company 18 months ago to a German conglomerate, fearing foreign ownership and the $4.6-billion price tag would lead to higher rates and reduced service.

Thousand Oaks has challenged the rate request, saying the price cuts should be greater and begin immediately. Though the city, which operates its own water system, and Cal-Am both purchase their water from the Calleguas Municipal Water District, the city maintains that Cal-Am customers pay a third more on average.

An administrative law judge will oversee tonight's hearing, which begins at

6 p.m. on the third floor of the Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. For more information, call the commission at (866) 849-8390 or (415) 703-2074.

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