Golden State Water Co. fined $1 million

The California Public Utilities Commission last week fined Golden State Water Co. $1 million and ordered it to refund $9.5 million to its customers.

Golden State Water has customers in Los Osos, Edna Valley and Nipomo. However, customers in those areas will see little in the way of refunds.

Of the $9.5 million to be refunded, only $34,000 will go to customers in the Los Osos service area, which includes Edna Valley. The Santa Maria service area, which includes Nipomo, will receive $192,500 in refunds.

The bulk of the refunds will go to customers in Sacramento, Bay Point and Clear Lake. Refunds will be made over the next three years.

The company overcharged its customers because of a lack of management oversight, the commission said in a news release. The $1 million fine was levied for not informing state regulators of internal control failures and the impact of those deficiencies on rates.

“Today’s decision approves a settlement that was entered into after a robust investigation into allegations that Golden State Water did not exercise reasonable management oversight and failed to apply adequate internal controls over its procurement for plant improvements,” commission President Michael Peevey said last Thursday.