OWSI Proposed General Water Rate Increase - Update 12/1/23

Utiliities commission schedules
New public meeting
December 7th 9:30 AM

Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc. (OWSI) on 3/15/23 notified its costomers that it had filed a request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) for approval of a 23.3% water rate increase. PDF

On April 11, 2023, the Port Ludlow Village Council (PLVC) submitted a letter, PDF, to the WUTC asking that any decision on OWSI’s rate increase request be deferred until after additional information had been received. WUTC’s meeting for consideration of OWSI’s request was subsequently rescheduled for June 15, 2023.

On June 8, 2023, PLVC submitted to the WUTC a petition to intervene as a party in the rate increase proceeding in order to protect ratepayers’ interests, and giving reasons for its concerns about OWSI’s request. PDF

Following the June 15 open meeting, on June 16, 2023 the WUTC Commissioners issued an Order granting PLVC’s petition to intervene and stating, among other things, that:

  • PLVC “has raised important issues that deserve full consideration”. The Commissioners “are unable to conclude at this time whether the approved rates will ultimately be excessive and thus require a refund to the Company’s customers”.
  • OWSI “bears the burden to prove that the proposed increases are fair, just, reasonable, and sufficient”. OWSI “has not yet sufficiently demonstrated that the tariff revisions would result in rates that are fair, just, reasonable, and sufficient”; and
  • WUTC staff are directed to “institute an investigation of Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc.’s books, accounts, practices, activities, property, and operations as described above.”

Nevertheless, the Order allowed the proposed rates “to become effective on June 19, 2023 on a temporary basis, subject to refund if the Commission determines that different rates will be fair, just reasonable, and sufficient.” The Order: PDF

Thereafter, the parties submitted and responded to various requests for information, and met in person or via Zoom on multiple occasions to discuss the issues. On September 26, 2023 PLVC sent the other parties an Excel workbook and accompanying written narrative setting forth a number of remaining questions and concerns about OWSI’s accounting practices and submissions and about WUTC staff’s review of those submissions. That written narrative: PDF

This matter is scheduled to be revisited by the Commissioners at an Open Meeting to be held at 9:30 a.m. on December 7, 2023. WUTC staff have said they will recommend that the temporary rate increase approval be made permanent.

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