By Greg Sorensen
Liberty Utilities is proud to be Apple Valley’s new water provider.
We bought the local water company because we believe in this community, and know that our vision and values of service, transparency, accountability, and community involvement are consistent with the families that call Apple Valley home.
The two most important things we can do as your water provider are delivering the best possible water service and respecting our customers.
From our local professionals to the organization’s leaders, you will always get our best work, and we will always be fully transparent regarding conservation programs, water quality testing, water rates/bills and how we’re investing customer dollars to ensure the system is reliable for generations to come.
It comes in many different forms, but for Liberty, it means giving customers access to all the information that goes into how we do business and valuing the investment they make when paying their bill.
As it relates to our service, Liberty is committed to helping people use water wisely, which saves money and protects a precious desert resource.
We offer free outdoor water audits, where a Liberty professional will come to your home and work with you to find ways to save.
Similarly, we participate in a variety of rebate programs that provide you with water-friendly tools.
The average Apple Valley customer pays approximately $2.50 a day for safe, reliable water service. More importantly, for these customers, water bills over the last three years have essentially remained flat, and 75 percent of customers are paying less than the average 2013 bill.
This is a great indicator of a community that cares about using water wisely and has taken action to overcome California’s historic drought.
It is also important to explain how water rates are established.
Water rates reflect our actual cost to provide water from its source to your tap.
State law specifies that we can only recover our operational costs without any profit.
The only exception is to help make improvements to strengthen the reliability and quality of the water system, and state regulators determine what we may collect to help finance these capital improvements.
California’s regulatory system holds Liberty to a higher standard of transparency and accountability than public agencies.
There is even an independent consumer watchdog that audits our spending and can ensure that customers only pay what is necessary to provide reliable service.
We recognize that water has been a controversial subject and that local government filed an eminent domain lawsuit to try to take the water system, but we believe that the effort is counterproductive for Apple Valley and its future. What is especially concerning is that the Town intends to borrow what, according to the Town of Apple Valley Blue Ribbon Water Committee, could be in excess of $200 million that would ultimately have to be repaid by Apple Valley residents.
We believe that local residents deserve the right to vote on debt all Apple Valley hard-working families would have to repay.
That’s why we support the nearly 4,000 Apple Valley citizens who signed a petition to put Measure V on the ballot this November.
Measure V, also known as the Citizen’s Right to Vote Act, would hold government accountable by requiring a public vote on the amount of money they borrow in excess of $10 million for revenue-generating enterprises like water or sewer services.
Measure V was carefully written to exempt improvements to parks, streets, bridges, and other community needs.
We support Measure V because it respects our customers’ rights to be heard.
We believe in transparency and accountability and we operate our business accordingly.
We value the opportunity to be Apple Valley’s water provider and look forward to growing with the community and providing safe, reliable water service to residents for generations to come.
—Greg Sorensen is president of Liberty Utilities (California).