N4T Investigators: High water - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: High water

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Every time Ronald Green looks at his utility bill he gets a little more irritated. Then he looks at his neighbor's and gets even more frustrated.

"It's ridiculous and it just doesn't seem right," says Green who lives in the SaddleBrooke Ranch community north of Oro Valley.

Green's complaint centers around the fact that he's paying nearly twice as much for water as people just down the road.

According to rates published by the Environmental Finance Center, Green pays $59.38 for 7,500 gallons of water.

News 4 Tucson Investigators compared what Green is paying to the amounts charged by four other nearby utilities and found that rates varied significantly.

Arizona Water Company charges Green $59.39, Lago Del Oro charges $31.93, Ridgeview charges $50.58, Los Cerros charges $33.38 and Goodman charges $100.78.

"How is it possible that one water company can charge 70% more than another company within the same geographical area,? asked Green.

New 4 Tucson Investigators asked that very question to officials at the Arizona Corporation Commission.

"You would assume that if everybody is in the same area all these companies are similar and therefore their rates should be the same, but in reality that's not the case. It's not an apples to apples comparison," said Angie Holdsworth with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Holdsworth says that when the Commission sets rates, they first look at a company's size, customer base, and infrastructure; and then try to balance what's best for the customer with what the company needs.

"We want to keep the rates fair for the rate payer but you also have to make sure that the company is viable. The last thing you want to do is see the company be in a position where they are unable to provide that safe reliable source of water and then the customer is going to be out in the long run," said Holdsworth.

However, with his water provider currently asking for a rate increase, Green says he doesn't feel like the Commission is looking out for him.

"If we set the precedent of these double digit rate increases then that's what we are gonna be dealt with year after year after year and I just don't think that's right and I don't think that's in the public interest," said Green

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