Claremont California Water Fight Gets Nasty

Claremont officials have been at odds with the San Dimas-based water company for some time after it asked the Public Utilities Commission to approve a rate increase of more than 24 percent for 2013 and additional increases in 2014 and 2015.

A negotiated settlement resulted in Claremont’s 11,000 customers and ratepayers receiving a 15.1 percent rate increase in 2013, 2 percent more in 2014 and 1.8 percent in 2015.

In November, Claremont officials sent an initial offer of more than $54 million to purchase the company’s local assets but Golden State officials have said no.

On Dec. 18, Golden State released a feasibility study by a water expert it paid for that said the water company’s local assets could cost as much as $204 million.

City officials issued a news release two days later stating the water company "hires lobbyists and consultants to mislead residents."

The public relation groups on each side enter into the question of valuation. Clearly, a water company complains that the government agency offers a quarter of the value of the property. This is not a surprise as government offers can be, although not always, egregiously low. However, this notion of each side having their own public relations outfit intervening does not frequently happen. This will give rise to a long and brutal dispute for all.