A couple dozen people attended a public participation hearing which was being held in regard to proposed rate increases for Fontana Water Company customers.

Several attendees spoke out against the rate hikes during the event, which took place on June 24 at the Fontana City Council Chambers.

San Gabriel Valley Water Company has filed a general rate case application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to increase water rates in Fontana by more than 20 percent over a three-year period.

If eventually approved by the CPUC, present water rates for residential customers could go up by 14.7 percent in 2020-2021, 5.2 percent in 2021-2022, and 2.9 percent in 2022-2023.

Also, water rates for commercial customers could rise 13.6 percent, 8.0 percent, and 4.4 percent over the next three years, while the rates for industrial customers may increase 12.9 percent, 8.1 percent, and 4.4 percent during that period.

The CPUC conducted the hearing in order to receive input from customers affected by the proposed increases, which were preceded by large rate hikes (a total of 30.7 percent over three years) starting in 2017.

Some of the public speakers accused the Fontana Water Company of mismanaging funds and gouging customers who have done their best to conserve water.

Joel Reiker, a representative from San Gabriel Valley Water Company, said during the hearing that the company is doing everything it can to keep costs to a minimum while still maintaining adequate water treatment facilities.

A final ruling on the company's application is not expected for several months.

In the meantime, the CPUC is welcoming comments from concerned customers, who can:

• Send an email to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

• Write to: CPUC Public Advisor's Office, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102

• Call: 1-(866) 849-8390 (toll free).

Customers need to reference San Gabriel's GRC application number A.19-01-001 in any communications they have with the CPUC regarding this matter. All public comments will become part of the public correspondence file for this proceeding and made available for review to the assigned judge, commissioners, and appropriate CPUC staff.

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