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News Release
Commission Reasserts Jurisdiction of Crooked River Ranch Water Company
January 28, 2009 (2009 - 001) (WJ-8)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, Ore.  Concluding there is overwhelming reason to provide oversight, today the Oregon Public Utility Commission, in response to an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling, released a decision to reassert jurisdiction over the Crooked River Ranch Water Company.
In 2006, the Commission asserted jurisdiction over Crooked River after receiving petitions from more than 20 percent of its customers requesting oversight.  On review, the Court of Appeals agreed that a sufficient number of customers had filed petitions, but concluded that the Commission had followed the wrong process in asserting jurisdiction.  Also, the Court concluded that the Commission was required to determine whether there were sufficient reasons to assert jurisdiction over the water company. 
The Commission’s new order follows the Court’s instructions and finds “overwhelming factual circumstances and policy considerations for assuming oversight of Crooked River.  These include widespread member dissatisfaction, inappropriate ratemaking practices, excessive management compensation, conflicts of interest and concerns of withholding service to members.”
The Commission also took the following actions in other proceedings related to Crooked River:
  • Reinstates previously established rates for water service.
  • Stays the distribution of $130,656 to its members if Crooked River posts sufficient bond to ensure the ability to distribute the money in the event of a final order directing redistribution of the funds.
  • Reinstates an order directing Crooked River to provide service to a customer at a connection rate the Commission determined to be reasonable.
  • Dismisses an enforcement proceeding against Crooked River and its board members for failing to comply with our orders.
Crooked River Ranch Water Company may request a hearing within 15 days from the date of the decision to determine whether the order should stay in effect.  If a request is filed, the hearing will be held within 60 days after Crooked River’s request for a hearing.