Commission votes to contest proposed water rate hike

By Rayn Lengerich: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis City Commission voted unanimously Thursday to intervene on a proposed rate hike by New Mexico American Water Company.

The local water provider filed a rate increase request May 24 with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. If approved, water rates for Clovis residents would raise by an average 18 percent.

The PRC has nine months from the date of the request approve or deny the rate increase.

City Attorney Dave Richards said customers have the right to file an intervention to the proposed increase, giving a customer a “seat at the table,” when PRC holds future hearings on the rate.

“The intervener is allowed to participate in the process rather than just observing the process,” Richards said. “It also presents an opportunity to present technical and expert evidence if we choose to.”

As an independent customer, the city filing a motion to intervene does not mean they represent Clovis residents, Richards said.

Residents reserve the right to intervene and are represented by the PRC staff and the attorney general.

Richards said the city and Clovis Municipal School District have an exceptional interest in intervening because they are the only customers to receive a reduced water rate. Under the proposal, the water company will likely scrap the reduced rate and the city and schools will pay the common rate.

By the city intervening, Richards said Clovis residents will benefit.

“Both directly and indirectly. For example, if there is an overstatement of revenue requirements (found), that will benefit all the consumers.”

In other business:

• Clovis Airport Director Steve Summers was presented the Civilian Career Contribution to Aviation award by New Mexico State Aviation Director Tom Baca.
“Steve says he has the nicest looking airport in this state,” Baca told the commission. “And do you know what? He does.”

• City commissioners unanimously approved introducing an ordinance establishing minimum storm water management requirements for residential subdivisions. The proposed ordinance will be open for discussion for 30 days before action will be taken.