10, 2014 Is
no news, good news? We have to say yes for this case, because it means that
Castaic Lake Water Agency has been unable to raise water rates by 16% as
they had proposed for any of the Valencia customers it acquired through
its illegal acquisition of that water company. However, the Public Utilities
has re-opened this case after receiving an application for re-hearing by
Newhall Land and Farming Co. (the former owners of Valencia Water Co.).
To date we have received nothing further on this matter from the Public
Court complaint in this matter is proceeding slowly through the Court
with only preliminary skirmishes heard thus far.
a lightening swift sweetheart condemnation deal consummated during the
2012 holidays, Castaic Lake Water Agency approved the $73.8 million dollar
purchase of Valencia Water Company, formally owned by Newhall Land and
Farming, and made contractual promises to supply water to all Newhall's
In January 2013 Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment,
Friends of the Santa Clara River and Carmillis Noltemeyer, an individual
rate payer, filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission
regarding the illegal Acquisition of Valencia Water Company by Castaic
Lake Water Agency.
The Decision (see below) in the matter was finialized today. The Commission
set this item as #42 on their consent calendar for today and at app. 9:57AM
the consent calendar, including #42 was approved without objection.
This is an unprecedented decision in the water world.
The Decision decertifies Valencia Water Company's "Certificate of
Necessity" needed to operate as a private water company and declares
them a public water agency, owned by Castaic Lake Water Agency. They are
now subject to the Brown Act and must hold public meetings as well as
the Public Records Act. Further they do not now comply with their own
enabling act in regards to owning this water company.
The CPUC made statements indicating that it appeared Castaic Lake Water
Agency may have serious problems with the legality of owning this water
company, not only due to its failure to comply with AB134 (2001 session),
but also under certain provisions of the California Constitution that
prohibit a state agency from owning a corporation. But it found that such
questions were outside its jurisdiction, now that Valencia is a public
Due to the finding that Valencia Water Company is a public agency, the
CPUC also decided that they lacked jurisdiction to decide the legal matters
in the Complaint, and therefore dismissed it, differing the questions
we raised to the Superior Court to be considered as part of the Writ of
Mandate case file by SCOPE in February 2013.
We ask now that Valencia Water Co. immediately begin holding public meetings
and responding to public records act requests. Also, we demand that Castaic
Lake Water Agency divest itself of its illegal holding of Valencia Water