bvesbear-thumbThe ruling is in with regard to Bear Valley Electric’s proposed rate increase, which, when initially proposed by their parent company Golden State Water in 2008, was a request for an additional $6.8 million in revenue, phased in over four years. The proposed decision of Administrative Law Judge Farrar, issued this month, is to provide for a $6.3 million increase, as was settled upon earlier this summer between Bear Valley Electric and the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, or DRA (an independent consumer advocacy division of the California Public Utilities Commission). As told to KBHR, the DRA’s Dao Phan says, “This is the administrative law judge’s decision, so it will now get voted on by the five CPUC Commissioners. We do not have a calendar date yet but, in all likelihood, it will get voted on in 2009.” Given the reduced increase, and the request for interim relief to the electric company that was denied on May 5, the increase will not amount to the 22.7 percent increase over four years as originally requested. If approved by the CPUC, the base rate increase will be 15.85 percent in 2009, with the additional phase-in for 2010 to be .96 percent. Years three and four of the phase-in, as per the judge’s proposed ruling, would be amounts of .83 percent in 2011 and .35 percent in 2012. Bear Valley Electric’s Operations Manager Ken Markling tells KBHR, “There are no changes since the settlement agreement, but this is a stepping stone in the process, where it now goes to the CPUC for the final decision.” If approved by the Commission, the increase would, again, translate to 15.85 for customers in year one—though, as explained by Markling, “The 15.85 percent is the annual base revenue increase, however each customer’s individual increase will vary, based on the rate design. We’re optimistic that we’ll see something sooner than the end of the year as, typically, the final decision comes out 30 days after the proposed decision.”