bvesbear-thumbThe verdict is still out on the proposed rate increase for Bear Valley Electric Service which, when first introduced by their parent company Golden State Water last year, was $6.8 million in revenue increases which would translate into a 22.7% increase for electric customers throughout the Big Bear Valley. Since the rate increase was filed with the California Public Utilities Commission in June of 2008, testimony was taken in Big Bear last December and additional hearings were conducted in San Francisco in February. The Division of Ratepayer Advocates, or DRA, an independent consumer advocacy division of the CPUC, has been in opposition to the rate increase and, on May 22, had filed a settlement with Golden State Water–a settlement that has not yet been approved. Per the DRA’s Dao Phan, project coordinator assigned specifically to the BVES rate case, there is no verdict as of yet. In a conversation with KBHR, Phan says, “We don’t have a definite answer yet, as we are awaiting a proposed decision from the administrative law judge. We expect it sometime this year, though we’re not sure. The proposed decision will have to be voted upon by the five CPUC commissioners, and then the decision becomes final.” As the rate increase may not be decided upon before year’s end—rather than a summer decision, as had been expected in December—Bear Valley Electric had asked for an interim rate increase. Adds Phan, “Interim relief to Bear Valley Electric was denied. They wanted an interim increase before the final decision, and that was denied on May 5.”