Olympic Water & Sewer, Inc.

PLVC will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, July 28th in order to hear Olympic Water & Sewer, Inc (OWSI) present a different proposal rather than the current rate fee surcharge currently before the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC).

All residents and OWSI customers are encouraged to attend. The meeting will be held at 10am at the Bay Club.

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UTC Staff explained that if the Commission is unable to reach an agreement about what is fair, reasonable and prudent concerning the OWSI rate fee surcharge by August 1, 2014, this issue will be referred to an Administrative Judge for mediation and decision. That process would take about 8 months. 

July, 2014

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC)                                           Meeting with UTC Staff, OWSI and Port Ludlow residents/rate payers                                          Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc  Docket UW-110436                                                           Monday July 14, 2014 5:30-7:30pm        Beach Club

1.  Introductions

  • Staff
  • Company Representatives
  • Customer spokespersons

2. Current Case Status (staff)

3. Going Forward – Process (staff)

4. Customers’ Issues

5. Company Comments

6. Discussion – Agreement/Consensus

UTC is traveling from Olympia to Port Ludlow in order to allow the customers (residents of Port Ludlow) of OWSI to share their concerns and comments about the application for a rate fee surcharge for 38 months. Plan to attend this important community meeting.

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April, 2014

OWSI Surcharge Suspended

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), at its April 10 open meeting, suspended the water rate surcharge requested by the Olympic Water and Sewer Inc. (OWSI). Below are the findings and conclusions and order of the WUTC concerning the requested water rate surcharge by OWSI. The WUTC is required by law to respond to a rate change request within a 30 day period or the rate change automatically goes into force. The language in the response is very formal due to the legal nature of the document. The WUTC staff has been directed to investigate further. The suspension is temporary pending the outcome of the staff’s findings.

DOCKEUWll0436
ORDER 03

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

(1) The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is an agency of the
State of Washington vested by statute with the authority to regulate the rates,
rules, regulations, practices, accounts and affiliated interests of public service
companies, including water companies.

(2) Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc., is a water company and a public service
company subject to Commission jurisdiction.

(3) The tariff revisions Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc., filed on March 7,2014,
would increase charges and rates for service presently provided by the Company
in Jefferson County.

(4) This matter came before the Commission at its regularly scheduled meeting on
April 10, 2014.

(5) Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc., has not yet demonstrated that the tariff revisions would ultimately result in rates that are fair, just, reasonable and sufficient.

(6) The Commission believes it is necessary to investigate the Company’s books,
accounts, practices and activities, and to investigate and appraise various phases
of the Company’s operations.

(7) Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc., bears the burden of proof to show that the
proposed increases are just, reasonable and sufficient.

ORDER

THE COMMISSIOORDERS:

(1) The tariff revisions Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc., filed on March 7, 2014, are suspended.

(2) The Commission will hold hearings at such times and places as may be required.

(3) Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc., must not change or alter the tariffs filed in this docket during the suspension period, unless authorized by the Commission.

(4) The Commission will institute an investigation of Olympic Water and Sewer,
Inc.’ s books, accounts, practices, activities and operations as described above.

DATED at Olympia, Washington, and effective April 10, 2014.

————————————-

A rewritten letter to WUTC about the OWSI surcharge proposal was presented at the PLVC General Meeting on Thursday, April 3rd. After discussion, MSP by vote of 6-4. This letter will be submitted to WUTC right away, and eBlast to community about this letter will be prepared and sent.

Earlier this month, each Port Ludlow resident received a letter from Olympic Water & Sewer, Inc. (OWSI) regarding a proposal to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) to approve a $94.10 one-time surcharge for costs of drilling Well#17 and contamination investigation.

Attached is the Port Ludlow Village Council response to this letter, which was approved by a vote of 5-4 at the PLVC general meeting on April 3, 2014. An eBlast was sent to the community, providing this letter with the suggestion that residents prepare and send letters of approval or opposition to this OWSI surcharge proposal to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission by April 10th.

To communicate directly with the UTC regarding this proposal:

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission                                                           Attn: Steven King, Executive Director and Secretary                                                     1300 S Evergreen Park Drive SW  Olympia, WA 98504-7250                                           eMail: comments@utc.wa.gov             Telephone: 1-888-333-WUTC (9882)

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PLVC Letter to WUTC regarding OWSI surcharge proposal:

April 3, 2014

Steven King, Executive Director and Secretary                                                         Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission                                                         1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive SW                                                                                 Olympia, WA 98504-7250

RE: Olympic Water & Sewer, Inc. Docket UW-110436                                                                Surcharge Filing for $165,059

The Port Ludlow Village Council (PLVC) represents the nearly 1700 home and condominium owners within Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort. We are essentially the customer base of Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc. (OWSI) We are concerned that the application by OWSI for a surcharge against rate payers as reimbursement for costs related to the drilling of Well#17 and the resultant investigation of contaminants is unreasonable.

In 1990, when the underground tanks were removed, the contamination was assumed to be stable. Prior to the drilling of the proposed Well#17, OWSI consulted with the Washington State Departments of Health and Ecology, and Jefferson County Health Department. OWSI was offered a series of recommendations, including:

 1. “Consider a different well site location within the same quarter-quarter section that is both upgradient and away from the old underground storage tank locations.”

 2. ”Test boring in the immediate location of the proposed well to show the absence of any gasoline analytes in the soil.”

OWSI drilled Well#17 at a down gradient position within close proximity of the gasoline storage tank locations. This resulted in drilling into contaminated soil. The PLVC is concerned that OWSI appears not to have used the above mentioned considerations. Therefore, we do not feel OWSI rate payers should be expected to pay for the costs of drilling Well #17, or the contamination investigation which followed.

Today the contamination covers an area of about an acre, 50 feet deep. The contamination has migrated 125 feet south of the removed tank site and is approximately 50 feet from the adjacent residential property to the south. This defined contamination site must be considered unstable.

The need for an additional water source for OWSI customers is understood by the Village Council. However, we do not believe the OWSI customers should be held financially responsible for either the drilling of Well#17, or the subsequent investigation fees. Furthermore, we do not believe any cost relating to contamination, remediation, and legal costs, with this well site location, should be recovered from rate payers. All of these costs are related to a business decision to site a well in a location known to be previously contaminated. Port Ludlow rate payers should not be called on to bear these costs, nor any future costs related to this matter.

Respectfully Submitted

W. Terry Umbreit, President                                                                                               Port Ludlow Village Council

——————————————

A Special Meeting was held Tuesday, April 1st for the express purpose of discussing the proposed letter the Utility Committee had presented to the Village Council for a vote whether this letter would be submitted to WUTC on behalf of the PLVC.

After much discussion, and the presentation of a Minority Report by a Utility Committee Member, motion to vote was proposed. By a vote of 2 ayes, 7 nays, and 1 abstain – the letter was not accepted to be sent to WUTC signed by the Village Council.

Within our Bylaws, it is not allowed for the Utility Committee to send this letter on their own behalf. However, individual members could send this letter under their own signature.

Two Council members were assigned the task to modify the Utility Committee’s letter in a manner that would be acceptable to a majority of Village Council members to send to WUTC. This vote will be taken at the General Meeting on Thursday, April 3rd.

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March, 2014

Recently, Olympic Water & Sewer (OWSI) applied to the WUTC (Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission) for the approval of a temporary monthly surcharge totaling $2.70 to be added to our monthly bill for thirty-eight (38) months. They explained in their March 7, 2014 letter to the community that this surcharge is to offset the costs incurred for drilling Well #17 and the following investigation of the site (at 781 Walker Way, Port Ludlow) when contamination (gasoline) was discovered during the drilling.

This surcharge, if approved by WUTC, would expire on June 30, 2017 (or upon recovery of $165,059).  If you have questions about the WUTC filing and how it will affect you, OWSI asks that you call them at 360-437-2101 or email ‘owsi@portludlowassociates.com.’

The PLVC Utility Committee has worked diligently in order to research the background of this decision, They have provided a letter to the Village Council with the suggestion it be formally voted upon and sent to the WUTC.  Another Workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 1st at 3pm at the Beach Club by the Village Council along with members of the Utility Committee to discuss the many complexities of this issue. The current plan is to vote upon the proposed letter at the Council’s General Meeting on Thursday, April 3rd.  This meeting will be held at the Bay Club at 3pm.

You are invited to be a participant in these discussions. You may also share your own opinion about this surcharge with the WUTC:                                                                          1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive SW                                                                                          P O Box 47250   Olympia  WA 98504-7250

Comments may also be emailed to them at:  comments@utc.wa.gov                               Their telephone number is 1-888-333-WUTC (9882)

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Sale of Olympic Water and Sewer Inc. (OWSI) – follow this developing topic as it continues.  As of January 2014, OWSI is still being offered for sale. To date, no viable bids have been received.

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