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State issues penalty against Clallam County water company
Feb. 16, 2011
Docket Number: UW-091006, UW-110213OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators have penalized a Clallam County water company that has not complied with state laws and regulations governing its services, rates and charges.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) is requiring Lowper, Inc., a Sequim-based water company to demonstrate why the company is not subject to state regulation. A UTC investigation found the utility should have filed an initial tariff on Oct. 4, 2009, when it met the requirements for regulation set forth in state law.
The UTC also fined the company $10,500 for 105 violations of state laws concerning its unauthorized services and billing practices. The company has 15 days to pay the penalty or request a hearing.
The company refused to do so and has repeatedly maintained that it was in the process of selling the water system to the county. However, the staff investigation found that the county has not purchased the system.
The commission became aware of the unregulated water utility when customers complained about high water bills. The average monthly customer water bill, based on June 2010 data, was more than $81 a month plus charges for usage.
Owned by David Dorland, Lowper, Inc.’s water system serves seven customers just outside of Sequim on the south side of Highway 101.
The UTC regulates private water companies operating within the state that have 100 or more connections or if the utility charges more than $471 a year per customer.
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