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WATER AGENCY CONSIDERS 180 PERCENT RATE BOOST.

QUARTZ HILL - Antelope Valley's water wholesaler is considering a possible rate hike that could range from 45 percent to 180 percent.

The Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency's board had been scheduled to make a decision Tuesday night, but put it off until November in order to collect more information on costs being passed on to it by state water officials and to give customers time to voice their concerns.

Citing rising energy costs for pumping water, state water officials have informed the agency they are looking at raising their rates by $100 per acre-foot. The cost to AVEK is now $55 per acre-foot.

An acre-foot is about 325,800 gallons, or enough to supply a typical Antelope Valley household for a year. AVEK buys water from the California Aqueduct, then resells it to local water districts and farmers.

The next AVEK board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 13, but there might be a special meeting to consider the issue before then, said board Vice President Keith Dyas.

``We're going to do our best to minimize the impact to our customers,'' Dyas said.

AVEK does not supply water directly to individual homes, so any price hike would not directly affect consumers' bills, except as their suppliers pass on the higher costs. Local water districts and companies that supply homes and businesses use well water in addition to AVEK's supplies.

AVEK is looking at four rate-hike scenarios - $25 per acre-foot, $35 per acre-foot, $60 per acre-foot and the full $100. Only the full $100 rate would keep the agency from losing money, officials said.

The other scenarios would result in deficits, possibly as much as $5 million, but are being considered anyway with the hope that energy costs will not be as great as the state anticipates.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 20, 2001
Words:295
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