Monarch Utilities Withdraws Sale, Transfer or Merger Application; Requests Permission to Amend Rate Application
AUSTIN, Texas, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Monarch Utilities, a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company, filed motions today with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) to withdraw its Sale, Transfer or Merger (STM) application and its City of Pflugerville rate appeal in accordance with its agreement with the City of Pflugerville. Monarch is also filing with SOAH a motion requesting permission to amend its current rate application.
“I commend SouthWest Water Company for listening to its customers and taking this important step,” Senator Kirk Watson said. “Texans need a stable source of water at the best possible rates, and I look forward to working with SouthWest and other water providers to develop long-term solutions to water issues during the upcoming legislative session.”
Monarch filed an application in February 2011 to consolidate other utility assets in Texas from an affiliated company, SWWC Utilities, Inc., doing business as Diamond Water Company; Hornsby Bend Utility Company; Huntington Utility Company; Mid-Tex Utilities, Inc.; SW Utility Company; Water Services, Inc.; and Windermere Utility Company, Inc.
“We proposed the STM after much thoughtful consideration and years of experience in the utility business because we are confident merging all of the utilities into one would benefit customers in the long run through economies of scale and stabilizing rates,” Charles Profilet, vice president, SouthWest Water Company, said. “However, we listened carefully to feedback from our customers and elected officials, and we are willing to make adjustments to meet their desires.”
In May 2011, Monarch filed for a water rate increase of 62.3 percent and a sewer rate increase of 33.6 percent for the consolidated utilities. Those proceedings were halted in November 2011, and interim rates were set at the rates prior to the increase.
With today’s filing, Monarch is requesting to amend the rate application such that the company would apply for a 14.3 percent water revenue increase and no sewer revenue increase for Monarch Utilities without the consolidated utilities. In the amended application, Monarch is voluntarily reducing its requested water revenue by $6.5 million per year and sewer revenue by $1.9 million per year.
The rate change would not apply to customers served by SWWC Utilities, Inc., doing business as Diamond Water Company; Hornsby Bend Utility Company; Huntington Utility Company; Mid-Tex Utilities, Inc.; SW Utility Company; Water Services, Inc.; and Windermere Utility Company, Inc.
“Over the past months, we listened to our customers’ concerns about rates,” Profilet said. “While the proposed amended rates will not recover our costs of doing business, we have elected to voluntarily make adjustments because we understand how customers have been affected by the difficult economic climate.”
In the past five years, Monarch and SWWC Utilities have invested nearly $70 million to tap new water sources and replace aging water and wastewater treatment plants.
“These environmentally responsible upgrades allow us to provide our customers with clean, abundant water and to protect our streams and waterways,” Profilet said. “The rate increase was proposed because our sizeable investment across the state means our costs are significantly higher.”
Administrative law judges with SOAH will rule on Monarch’s motions to withdraw the STM application, the Pflugerville appeal, and to amend the current rate application.
About SouthWest Water Company
SouthWest Water Company provides a broad range of operations, maintenance and management services, including water production, treatment and distribution; wastewater collection and treatment; customer service; and utility infrastructure construction management. The company owns regulated water and wastewater utilities, and also serves cities, utility districts and private companies under contract. More than a million people in five states depend on SouthWest Water for high-quality, reliable service. Additional information may be found on the company’s website: www.swwc.com.
Kristin Marcum and Elizabeth Christian
Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations
(For SouthWest Water Company/Monarch Utilities)
SOURCE SouthWest Water Company