Los Osos group fights high water bills
April 30, 2014
In the past 14 years. Los Osos residents getting their water from the Golden State Water Company (GSEC) has seen an increase in cost of almost 100 percent and now a group of residents are seeking to oust the for-profit water company through eminent domain proceedings.
Approximately half the residents of Los Osos get their water from the Los Osos Services District while the other half are served by GSWC. Rates run about 60 percent higher through the privately owned company.
Members of a group working to oust GSWC are asking members of the community to attend the Golden State Water meeting on Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. May 6 at the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos.
“Bring neighbors, friends, ask business owners and condo association board members to attend,” the group says on its website. “This is a fight we have to win! Be heard.”
In April 2011, an organization called Ojai FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) started a local campaign to purchase GSWC’s Ojai water system. The city council then implemented a public water district with a goal of selling bonds to pay for an eminent domain proceeding against GSWC.
In 2013, the voters of Ojai approved a bond measure to supporting the eminent domain purchase by a two-thirds majority.
Shortly afterwards, GSWC sued contending the bond measure was not valid. However, in March 2014 the court ruled against GSWC, paving the way for Ojai’s eminent domain action.
Currently, four communities in California are working to oust GSWC with plans to replace the for-profit company with a public water system, which is prohibited from making a profit.
GSWC contends its costs are higher, because unlike public agency, the for-profit company revenues come all are generate through billing while public water companies receive monies through billing, grants and property taxes.