The comment period on Waukesha's proposed water rate increases tied to its desire to tap into Lake Michigan closes tomorrow.
The Citizens Utility Board is opposing the rate plan - - details and more context, here.
And here's where you can send a comment - - through the end of the working day Friday - - and below is one strong example from a Waukesha water utility customer and detractor, Steve Edlund.
I did delete his contact information, so forgive the gap below, and also check out this essay with a few of the same questions, here:
|Public Comment Open Period: |
02/03/2012 - 05/11/2012
|May 7th, 2012 |
From: Steve Edlund
Waukesha, WI 53188
To: Wisconsin PSC
Re: Rate increase request from the Waukesha Water Utility
I wish to express my opposition to the rate increase request from the WWU as a citizen of the utility and the creative funding package proposed. Several observations over the approach to come into compliance with the EPA/DNR mandate to be radium compliant have brought me to this conclusion.
First- Waukesha does not have approval for the project for which the rate increase is requested from either the DNR or the Council of Great Lakes Governors.
Although Waukesha has stated that the DNR application would be approved in December of 2011, the process is more through and not on Waukesha`s timetable. After approval, there will be several public hearings and more evaluation, and more public hearings. 8 other states around the Great Lakes will also review the application and will not be and I believe they will also take their time to be through with this first of its kind diversion exception. Any one state may object to the application and Waukesha will need to pursue a completely different local water source that the one specified in this rate request.
Second- Waukesha has pursued the Lake Michigan option from Milwaukee because of cost.
Without the ability to return flow to a creek rather than Lake Michigan, at minimum 3 other local options are within the same capital cost range and at least 3 are less than the Oak Creek or Racine option. This fact will be examined by the Council of Great Lakes Governors.
Waukesha will state that local options are not sustainable. I would argue that if they are not sustainable (please define) they will encourage conservation. Besides conservation, has the utility examined the capacity potential of all options combined? And by contradiction, SEWRPC has developed a water management plan for southeast Wisconsin through 2035 which includes several options if Waukesha should not get approval from the Great Lakes Governors. In other words, the Governors will consider whether Waukesha`s application is premature and could deny the request.
Lastly- Compared to other communities with true water shortages, Waukesha has spent a significant amount on the pursuit of Lake Michigan water yet has done little to repair its own infrastructure and all of the underground leaks. Waukesha`s consumption continues to fall annually. I am comfortable in stating that in my opinion it`s not due largely to the implemented conservation efforts. But rather, the slow progress of main, and to a greater degree, lateral replacement of 100 year old pipes in older sections of the city. My own lateral was laid with steel pipe and rust through underground. The water was not metered and the leak was unknown until I reported something unusual. Several of my neighbors have had the same problem.
I believe that Waukesha will not get approval for the Great Lakes Diversion. Because of this opinion, I do not want the rate increase to pay for feeding oats to a dead horse only to have the application rejected and then double-up on costs to implement a plan to develop local sources.
Thank you for your consideration,