Case Number: 09-0548

Consolidations

  • May 14, 2010

    I am writing to voice my complaint against the water utility increase. I have an undeveloped lot and I am highly against this. I do not think there should be an increase, especially during this time in our economy, and I think the charge for this utility should be frozen for all undeveloped lots.
    Diana Sabo
  • May 11, 2010

    We were appalled to read that Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Co. had little comment recently regarding the testimony made by ACLPOA! This should show their total disregard for the residents here at Apple Canyon Lake. Their bottom line is money...money that they did not get in the past and want us to pay for now. We agree with an increase, but not 400%. Most of us here are on fixed incomes and it would be very taxing on us to come up with that kind of increase, especially in view of the fact that they have NO capital improvements planned...they are just looking to recoup losses. Why should we be responsible for that! Where is the money going that they get for the water access on lots, lots that right now have no homes built on them? We hope that you will consider their increase demand as outrageous as we do.
    Pat & Tim Reese
  • April 13, 2010

    I have owned property at Apple Canyon Lake for over 10 years. We have not built a home, it is simply a vacant lot. We have been paying a water bill since the day we purshased it. We have never used 1 drop of water but are still charged a fee. To increase the water bill is an insult.
    I understand that we were paying for having access to water should we decide to build there. In the 10+ years we have paid this bill, it should have paid for the lines that were installed and for the person to install them. Please do not allow this increase to undeveloped properties.
    Thank You!

    Jean Burton
  • February 26, 2010

    As Apple Canyon Lake property owners, we strongly object to the outrageous rate increase for water service proposed by Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Corp. Our address is 1492 Marina View Drive.

    Jan & Stanislawa Charchut

    Jan & Stanislawa Charchut
  • February 26, 2010

    As Apple Canyon Lake property owners, we strongly object to the outrageous rate increase for water service proposed by Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Corp. Our addresses are 1491 Marina View Drive, Fairway Unit Lot 115, and Canyon Club Unit Lot 90.

    Zbigniew & Halina Brzostowski
    Zbigniew & Regina Wojcik

    Zbigniew & Halina Brzostowski
  • February 26, 2010

    Dear ICC, I sent a letter to the ICC re case 09-0548 on 22 Nov 2009 but cannot find it in the public comments on the web site. Was the letter received and if so why is it not on the web site?
    Charles W. Larsen

    FYI the letter is repeated below.

    Dear ICC, 22 November 2009

    On 21 November, 2009, the Apple Canyon Utility Company (ACUC) made a presentation at a
    Town Hall Meeting at Apple Canyon Lake to justify their proposed increases in rates schedules
    for water service. I attended that meeting and was very surprised at the lack of justification for
    any rates increase. It is noted that the current usage fee is $4.66 and our covenants limit that
    fee to $5.00.

    ACUC representatives indicated that the increases proposed were needed to recover capital costs
    expended between 2004 and December 2009 ($316,900) and to get an increase of about $225,000
    annually that was denied by ICC in 2004. However, no information was presented to justify the
    increase of $225,000 that was denied in 2004. In addition, no information was presented to show that the expenses of $316,900 created any financial problem that would require a rates increase.
    No information was presented on future needs that would require a rates increase.

    Based on the lack of justification prresented I would conclude that no rates increase is justified
    and, in fact, I would suggest that a decrease may be warranted, especially for vacant lots.

    Charles W. Larsen
    P.O. Box 463
    Brookfield, IL 60513-0463
    Lot owner 3-61
    Apple Canyon Lake

    Charles W. Larsen
  • February 18, 2010

    I am writing in order to object to the water rate hike proposed by Apple Canyon Lake Utility Co. We, as home owners, were blindsided by this utility in an undated letter announcing the commencement of a hike in rates which was to begin in a very short period of time and without adequate justification for such hike. Using the reasoning that there hasn't been a raise in rates for a long period of time is not a justification for raising the rates in and of itself. In the current economic condition, private citizens and public companies have had to come to terms with doing "more with less" and increasing efficiency and eliminating waste in order to make ends meet. I would like to know what this Utility Company has done along those lines in order to stem the tide of costs passed on to an already overburdened consumer. A utility that has a public responsibility cannot possibly think that just because they haven't raised the rates in a while that they are justified in this obsurdly high percentage raise in rates without complete explanation and disclosure. Rate increases which are 4 or 5 times the current rate would be very hard to justify.
    Louise Kazanjian
  • February 16, 2010

    Illinois Commerce Commission
    527 East Capitol Ave.
    Springfield, Il. 62701

    Attn: Members of the commission,

    We are writing this letter to express our opposition to the proposed rate hike by Utilities Inc. /Apple Canyon Utilities case # 09-0548. The proposed rate hike of 300% is unacceptable to the residents of Apple Canyon Lake and should be considered unacceptable to the members of the commission. Utilities Inc. owns and manages 15 water companies within the state of Illinois and has additional companies among 14 other states. The cost of maintaining the infrastructure at Apple Canyon Utilities should not fall solely on the shoulders of those who are connected to the system. Utilities Inc. should have been diligent over the years to make the necessary upgrades to all of their systems with minor increases spread out among all of the small subsidiaries that they own and operate. This is a large corporation that makes millions of dollars per year in profit. They should be able to provide the necessary repairs and upgrades through proper planning and management. Wal-Mart has stores that are less profitable than others but they don’t raise the prices in the less profitable stores to increase profit, they adjust there overall business plan. I can’t purchase water from anyone other than Utilities Inc/Apple Canyon Utilities. We are relying on you and need your help to protect us from this increase that will have a devastating effect on people’s incomes and property values during this time of economic distress. Please represent the residents of Apple Canyon Lake fairly and respectfully when you consider the proposed rate increase.

    Sincerely,

    Richard & Robin Paulson

    Tracking # 0030-2010

    Richard & Robin Paulson
  • February 1, 2010

    I would like to document my objection to the proposed increase in water rates at Apple Canyon. The increase is excessive and completely unjustified. The proposed 350% is incomprehensible. Administrators from this water company may want to start drinking a little water and stay out of the liquor cabinet!
    Kevin Smith
  • February 1, 2010

    The assumptions presented to the users appears to be under stated. My average water bill is currently in excess of $14.83 that the company used as an example and I use under 1000 gallons of water. They claim this $14.83 cost is for 2000 gallons. The reality is that our bills will be increasing from about $22 to closer to $80. Even if their figures are used, the rates are increasing 6 fold. This is ridiculous. Our wages have not increased 6% much less than 6 fold. The company indicates the reason is a need to recover capital invested from 2004 to 2009. If they did not have the capital to invest, they should not have done so in 2004. That is poor manangement. They replaced motor and did tower repair. Those are costs of doing business. If our current water rates are not covering maintenance and repair, what are we paying for? A new accounting and billing system and surveys required by ICC should not be passed on to the consumer. Water service to Fair Oaks Lane should be charged to those that own property on Fair Oaks Lane. Why was Fair Oaks Lane not included in the original installation for our development. I agree that if there has not been an increase in 5 years, there may be some justification for a rate increase as everything continues to increase. However increasing rates as much as 6 fold is greed and gouging. My wages have increased less than 2% annually. This increase should be more in line with increase from $5.51 to $6.00 rather than from $5.51 to $29.86 and usage charge going from $4.66 to $5 rather than to $9.09. The proposed rates are horrendously exhorbatant. These along with the exhorbatant increases in real estate taxes are making it such that we will have to move out of the area due to excessively high cost increases in recent years.
    Dale Poquette
  • February 1, 2010

    Dear Sir/Madame;
    Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Corp. has notified the members of Apple Canyon Lake Association Inc., Apple River, Illinois that it has filed with the ICC a proposed change in the rates schedules for water service. I request that you provide me with all relevant information concerning Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Corp's proposed change together with any documents filed by the corporation with your office in support of its proposed change or inform me of the means by which I may obtain such information and/or documents.

    Please also accept this letter as a request pursuant to 220 ILCS 8-306(n) of the Public Utilities Act for a public forum concerning the corporation's proposed rate changes.

    Regards,

    Bryan Glancy
    210 Hidden Spring
    Apple River, IL. 61001

    Bryan Glancy
  • February 1, 2010

    As Apple Canyon Lake property owners, we strongly object to the outrageous rate increase for water service proposed by Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Corp. We sincerely hope that the ICC will reject this unreasonable rate increase.
    Gregg and Lynn Nybo
  • January 15, 2010

    Dear Sirs,

    This letter is in opposition to the proposed rate increase. Although utility consumers expect that the price of utilities will rise over time, the proposed increase goes above and beyond what is reasonable. I find the lack of concrete information or justification for the proposal to triple our water rates to be shocking. As residents of Apple Canyon Lake we do not have a choice in who we will receive water service from. We therefore expect you to protect our best interest by ensuring that Utilities Inc. continues to provide water service at reasonable rates.

    Very Truly Yours,
    John Tryner
    12-19 W. Apple Canyon Rd.

    John Tryner
  • January 15, 2010

    To Whom It May Concern: I am writing regarding the rate increase that has been proposed for Apple Canyon Lake and to request that you block it. My address is 2A37 Hidden Springs Ln, Apple River, IL 61001. I, along with all the other people who already complained on here, am opposed against the rate increase for all the same reasons the other members have commented on below. Thank you, Michael Magsamen
    Michael Magsamen
  • January 15, 2010

    Chief Clerk of the Illinois Commerce Commission:
    Re: Docket #09-0548 Apple Canyon Lake Utilities Corp. proposed rates change
    We protest the proposed water rate increase at Apple Canyon Lake. We are Apple Canyon Lake retirees and find your proposed rate very difficult to think about when managing our budget. I think we need to think about ways to conserve our water and decrease our usage. I received a rain barrel for Christmas to conserve water for my garden. We are also making lifestyle changes: washing full loads of clothes and taking less baths etc.
    Sincerely,
    Wayne and Nancy Bottomley

    Wayne and Nancy Bottomley
  • January 15, 2010

    I could understand a slight raise in fees, but the huge increase proposed by Apple Canyon Utilities for our water is outrageous! They probably figure that we have no other choice - we do need water - so my husband and I hope the Illinois Commerce Commission can and will do something to prevent Apple Canyon utilities from implementing the rate hike that they propose.

    Thank You.

    Carol G. Zarnstorff
  • January 15, 2010

    I am writing to oppose the proposed water rate hike that Utilities, Inc is requesting. My address is 8A95 Hamliton Dr. Apple River, 61001. I believe the proposed rate hike borders on outrageous. The representative was unable to clearly explain the reasons for such a large increase, or any increase for that matter. Who would think that a water bill could produce a financial strain on a household but I believe this would happen if such rates get approved. Thank you for your consideration.
    Dave Cebula
  • January 15, 2010

    Please accept this as my formal objection to the excessive rate increase, being requested by Utilities, Inc. The dollar amount they are attempting to recoup by increasing the fixed facility charges, plus almost doubling the rate per thousand for usage should be denied.

    They admitted they are attempting to recoup amounts denied at their last rate request of approximately $250,000. Their explanation of the reason for the increase was vague and incomplete at the town meeting they conducted at Apple Canyon Lake, in my opinon.

    Joseph Forman
  • December 29, 2009

    This letter is in opposition to the proposed rate change for our water service. This proposed change is unthinkable in this economy and for most of our citizens who are retired and on fixed incomes. No business has the right to increase a service to 350%. Better forecasting and re-evaluating their business practice is what Utilities Inc needs to do.
    Alan Cottrell
  • December 17, 2009

    To Whom It May Concern: I am writing regarding the rate increase that has been proposed for Apple Canyon Lake and to request that you block it. My address is 14A72 Falling Sun Dr., Apple River, IL 61001. The letter we received from the water company Utilities Inc. Stated, "Assuming an average consumption of 2,000 gallons the monthly charge for monthly water service will increase from $14.83 to $48.04." This extreme rate increase is unjustifiable, unaffordable and outrageous. If each utility and taxing body was able to add increases in incremental amounts as high as this most home and property owners would not be able afford to be in the area. Further the company already charges vacant property owners who do not even utilize water services. ACL consists of 2,727 lots, less than 850 have homes on them. Another reason sited for the increase was a New Accounting and Customer Care & Billing System. Just as in our home budgets, if funds are not available to purchase desired improvements than we can't do it anyway and hope to get the money later. One of the expenses they sited was adding a dedicated main installed to Fair Oaks, a street that didn't already have a line, to accommodate new construction at the end of the street and at the same time adding service to 4 vacant lots. There are a great number of streets that don't already have a line, so according to this means of charging, if a number of new homes were to be built on streets with no existing lines we would have to absorb the cost of each new line when it goes in and service to all of the vacant lots on those streets. That alone could make the fees unaffordable. Also, we built our home in 2008 and had to pay some fees for water line hookups. In my mind new homes should pay any and all costs as it relates to new water lines.

    Please, stop this rate increase!

    Sincerely,
    Ed Joseph
    14A72 Falling Sun Drive,
    Apple River, IL 61001
    847-951-7695

    Ed Joseph
  • December 14, 2009

    I am writing in order to object to the water rate hike proposed by Apple Canyon Lake Utility Co. We, as home owners, were blindsided by this utility in an undated letter announcing the commencement of a hike in rates which was to begin in a very short period of time and without adequate justification for such hike. Using the reasoning that there hasn't been a raise in rates for a long period of time is not a justification for raising the rates in and of itself. In the current economic condition, private citizens and public companies have had to come to terms with doing "more with less" and increasing efficiency and eliminating waste in order to make ends meet. I would like to know what this Utility Company has done along those lines in order to stem the tide of costs passed on to an already overburdened consumer. A utility that has a public responsibility cannot possibly think that just because they haven't raised the rates in a while that they are justified in this obsurdly high percentage raise in rates without complete explanation and disclosure. Rate increases which are 4 or 5 times the current rate would be very hard to justify.
    Thomas Sheehan
  • December 14, 2009

    I am writing in my official capacity as a member of Jo Daviess County Board, District #-08. The proposed rate increase for the Apple Canyon Lake Utility Company. Also know as Utilities, Inc.

    They are proposing a rate increase of over 350%. The association has approximately 850 homes and is located in the northwest portion of Illinois. The rate increase is a blatant outrage to the consumers of the lake. The company want to recoup $367,663.00 from the subscribers because they did not have the foresight to budget for unforeseen expenses. Many of the citizens of the lake are retired and live on fixed incomes. The rate proposed rate increase is way out of line. The utility company expect us to pay for the five (5) lots that were without a water hook up. That should be the responsibility of the new lot owners. "Leak Detection", "Inspections", "Repairs", "Pump Replacements" and New billing systems should have been budgeted and paid for in an averaged yearly period. The problem with this proposal is that once the $367,663.00 is satisisfied the rate will not be reduced. Thet will continue on and on and on. The Utility company spokesman was uneducated in the matter and did not answer any of the questions that were put to him. He was an example of the ineptitude of this entire company. The only person to answer any questions satisfactorly was the craftperson who works in the area every day.

    Please say NO to this very unfair rate increase.

    Thank you,

    William J. Cooper
    12A49 Washington Dr.
    Apple River, IL 61001
    Jo Daviess County Board
    District #-08

    William J. Cooper
  • December 9, 2009

    To whom it may concern: We are writing regarding the proposed rate increase at Apple Canyon Lake, and we are asking that you block it. Our address is 14A33 Falling Sun Dr. The majority of the residents here are retired and on a fixed income. To ask that we agree to such a rate increase is unreasonable.The gentleman at the Town Hall meeting noted that there were no planned capital improvements, and that the rate increase was just to make up for the money they did not get at the last increase request. And they're asking for that money EVERY YEAR!!! The gentlemen did not have any answers to our questions, so why he was sent there is beyond us. All we got was a flashy powerpoint presentation on expenditures for the past 10 years. What a waste of our time and an insult to our intelligence. I think you owe all the homeowners who were there an apology...we deserve better than what we got.
    PAT & TIM REESE
  • December 8, 2009

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing regarding the rate increase that has been proposed for Apple Canyon Lake and to request that you block it. My address is 7A85 Apache, Apple River, IL 61001.

    The letter we received from the water company Utilities Inc. Stated, "Assuming an average consumption of 2,000 gallons the monthly charge for monthly water service will increase from $14.83 to $48.04."

    This extreme rate increase is unjustifiable, unaffordable and outrageous. If each utility and taxing body was able to add increases in incremental amounts as high as this most home and property owners would not be able afford to be in the area.

    Further the company already charges vacant property owners who do not even utilize water services. ACL consists of 2,727 lots, less than 850 have homes on them.

    Another reason sited for the increase was a New Accounting and Customer Care & Billing System. Just as in our home budgets, if funds are not available to purchase desired improvements than we can't do it anyway and hope to get the money later.

    One of the expenses they sited was adding a dedicated main installed to Fair Oaks, a street that didn't already have a line, to accommodate new construction at the end of the street and at the same time adding service to 4 vacant lots. There are a great number of streets that don't already have a line, so according to this means of charging, if a number of new homes were to be built on streets with no existing lines we would have to absorb the cost of each new line when it goes in and service to all of the vacant lots on those streets. That alone could make the fees unaffordable.

    Please, stop this rate increase!

    Sincerely,
    Judy Okazaki
    7A85 Apache Drive
    Apple River, IL 61001
    847-732-3823

    Judy Okazaki
  • December 8, 2009

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing regarding the rate increase that has been proposed for Apple Canyon Lake and to request that you block it. My address is 7A85 Apache, Apple River, IL 61001.

    The letter we received from the water company Apple Canyon Utility Company - Utilities Inc. Stated, "Assuming an average consumption of 2,000 gallons the monthly charge for monthly water service will increase from $14.83 to $48.04."

    This extreme rate increase is unjustifiable, unaffordable and outrageous. If each utility and taxing body was able to add increases in incremental amounts as high as this most home and property owners would not be able afford to be in the area.

    Further the company already charges vacant property owners who do not even utilize water services. ACL consists of 2,727 lots, less than 850 have homes on them.

    Another reason sited for the increase was a New Accounting and Customer Care & Billing System. Just as in our home budgets, if funds are not available to purchase desired improvements than we can't do it anyway and hope to get the money later.

    One of the expenses they sited was adding a dedicated main installed to Fair Oaks, a street that didn't already have a line, to accommodate new construction at the end of the street and at the same time adding service to 4 vacant lots. There are a great number of streets that don't already have a line, so according to this means of charging, if a number of new homes were to be built on streets with no existing lines we would have to absorb the cost of each new line when it goes in and service to all of the vacant lots on those streets. That alone could make the fees unaffordable.

    Please, stop this rate increase! You may make my complaint public.

    Sincerely,
    Judy Okazaki
    7A85 Apache Drive
    Apple River, IL 61001

    Judy Okazaki
  • December 2, 2009

    I am apposed to the proposed rate increase, the effective date of which moved by the Commission on November 12, 2009 from November 28, 2009 to March 13, 2010.

    The the information in the "Notice to Apple Canyon Customers" does not begin to justify a proposed base increase to $29.86 from $5.51 or a usage charge increase to $9.09 from $4.66.

    In addition, I question the credibility of Utilities, Inc. and their two-page undated notice that I received on November 12, 2009 for a rate increase effective November 28, 2009.

    John Gallwas
  • December 2, 2009

    On Saturday, November 21, 2009 I, along with roughly sixty other homeowners, attended a presentation by your company representatives relative to a rate increase filing you currently have pending with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Aside from us learning that Tim Brandt was recognized for outstanding performance, which by the way we all agreed with, the meeting did little to answer any questions that we had. In fact, I am not sure why Utilities Inc even had the meeting. If your goal was to demonstrate to the ICC that you held a meeting with the affected owners; then you accomplished your goal. If your goal was to educate the home owners of Apple Canyon Lake as to why you need the rate increase, then you failed miserably.

    What is even more astonishing is that Utilities Inc would send a senior representative of the company who was totally unprepared to answer any questions dealing specifically with the justification for the rate increase. Rather, we were treated to a Power Point presentation on capital expenditures made over the last ten (10) years which totaled approximately 316K and how to conserve water. There was no, I repeat no, justification mentioned or explained as to why Utilities Inc would apply for a rate increase totaling in excess of 1.2m over the next five years. Again, no explanation other than we intend to paint the tower again.

    What we did learn from the audience, not your representatives, was that even after the ICC told you after your last increase to correct your customer services issues as well as to update your billing programs. Neither has seen much improvement. In fact, several homeowners complained of being told their water service was going to be terminated and never received a bill. The explanation given by your representatives was that Utilities Inc felt it was a postal error. Well, we have learned that the same problem occurred at the Galena Territory, and they are serviced by a different post office. Additionally, we were told that a notice of your intent to file would be sent with the next bill. Well, I received five (5) envelopes containing intent to file notice and none of them had a bill enclosed.
    I could go on and on relative to customer service, but I am sure you get the point.

    In closing, I have copied the ICC on this letter and intend, along with many others, to write and explain our opposition to your proposed rate increase. I would also suggest that you consider sending a letter of apology to all of those who attended the Saturday meeting, because quite frankly, it was an insult to our intelligence.

    Cordially

    Kevin Kavanaugh
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