The California Public Utilities Commission is this week taking testimony on the proposed rate increase for electric service offered by Bear Valley Electric. Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Lakritz took testimony in Big Bear Lake during a hearing on December 2, and this week’s hearings, which extend through February 27, are taking place in San Francisco. The DRA, or Division of Ratepayer Advocates, which is an independent consumer advocacy division of the CPUC, is among those protesting the rate increase. Per a statement issued by the DRA in December, they are opposed to the $6.8 million in revenue increases being sought by Bear Valley Electric’s parent company Golden State Water Company, and instead suggesting $4.4 million—in a conversation with a DRA representative today, he tells KBHR that this is still their position, as they have not released a statement since the December one, which was refered to as an “Un-Bear-Able Rate Hike.” Big Bear Mountain Resorts has also sent representatives to the CPUC hearing in San Francisco this week, as the initially proposed 22.7% rate hike could be potentially drastic for Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Though there is the potential for negotiations during formal hearings this week, Judge Lakritz told us earlier, “I would not expect on answer on this until summer.” Testimony this week is being heard by Administrative Law Judge Darwin Farrar, though CPUC Commissioner Timothy Simon, who had been in Big Bear for the December forum, is also on the panel.
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