WUTC Drops Rule-making to Clarify Jurisdiction Over Water Companies

In August 2013, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (Commission) filed a CR-101 to initiate rule-making to clarify its jurisdiction over entities that provide water service. Municipal-owned water systems are clearly exempt from WUTC regulation, which has historically focused on investor-owned, for-profit companies providing water, electric, and telecommunications services. The proposed rule-making looked at the potential inclusion of user-owned water systems, including homeowner associations, cooperatives and mutual corporations. The proposed regulation was roundly criticized by such entities as overreaching by the Commission, particularly because such organizations are owned and controlled by the customers and have elected representatives who are responsible for setting rates and providing minimum service standards. Additional regulations could add substantial administrative and legal costs to the operation of user-owned systems, raising water rates, and entangle the Commission in power struggles among customers. Today, the Commission issued a notice of withdrawal of its rulemaking, citing limited agency resources and “other water-related matters pending before the Commission.”

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One thought on “WUTC Drops Rule-making to Clarify Jurisdiction Over Water Companies

  1. There was overwhelming opposition via correspondence from members of the Water Cooperative of Pierce County to the proposed rule-making, so we are very glad to see this dropped. Hopefully it will not come back.

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