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News Release
Commission Reasserts Jurisdiction of Crooked River Ranch Water Company
October 13, 2009 (2009-015) (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.  Responding to an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling, the Oregon Public Utility Commission has issued a formal decision reasserting jurisdiction over the Crooked River Ranch Water Company in central Oregon.
This is the second time the Commission has stepped in. In 2006 the Commission asserted jurisdiction over Crooked River after more than 20 percent of Crooked River customers submitted petitions requesting the Commission regulate rates, services, and to handle customer complaints.
“Customers of Crooked River asked us to step in, which we did,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said.  “Now that the courts have weighed in, we will pick up where we left off and carry out our legal duties regulating the rates and service being provided by the Crooked River Ranch Water Company.”
Crooked River management challenged the Commission’s initial decision to assert jurisdiction. The Oregon Court of Appeals decision upheld the petition process used by the Commission, but directed the Commission to make an additional finding to complete the process in order to properly assert jurisdiction.  The court directed the Commission to determine whether there are compelling reasons for the Commission to regulate the water company. 
The Commission’s newly issued 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:
  • Requires the Company to make a rate filing to the Commission within 60 days of the Commission order. This will trigger a Commission review to establish just and reasonable rate levels.

  • Delays 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 Commission 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.
Link to Commission order