There was a
big huge surprise in regional water news last week:
The state Public Service Commission disallowed about a half-million dollars in charges Oak Creek wanted to recover in a wholesale water sale to Franklin - - and that formula meant Oak Creek would be stuck with a whopping, unanticipated cost borne instead by its retail customers - - if it went ahead and signed a larger wholesale deal that would make Waukesha Oak Creek's largest wholesale customer.
One of the costs disallowed was for pumping equipment that the PSC said should be eaten by Oak Creek and not be billed to Franklin, reported Don Behm:
One wholesale charge that the PSC cut from Oak Creek's rate request was $230,613 to pay for the pumping capacity built in its system so Franklin would have plenty of water to fight fires.Hold that thought.
Waukesha had spent 18 months negotiating a 40-80-year deal with Oak Creek, and would need to spend $183 million to pipe the water in from Oak Creek.
But note that the $183 million figure, while substantial, was substantially less and more politically manageable for Waukesha to sell its ratepayers because its original estimate for the Oak Creek option was $261 million.
So here is a question?
Is it possible that the excess pumping being charged to Franklin, and disallowed by the PSC, was attributable to Oak Creek having beefed up its infrastructure to be able to show Waukesha on paper, and in negotiations, that it could handle the average 10.9 million gallons daily that Waukesha's Lake Michigan diversion plan says it would expect to be able to access?