Mountain Water President Speaks Out On New Ownership – Says Nothing Has Changed Locally [YouTube]
After the storm of reaction to Monday's announcement of an ownership change to Mountain Water, an old axiom was proven true once again. 'Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting'.
Mountain Water President John Kappes told KGVO News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, that last Friday, Liberty Utilities acquired Western Water holdings and all of its subsidiaries, including Mountain Water, but that locally, nothing had changed.
"This really has no change for Mountain Water Company," Kappes said. "It's very clear that this is a stock transaction, not of Mountain Water, not of our parent Park Water, but actually at the Western water level.The sale has been approved by the California commission, since the sale took place in California. At Mountain Water Company, our stock has not changed, our ownership is still with Park Water. We continue to serve the community here with the same employees. From the standpoint of ownership with Mountain Water, nothing has changed and the consumer will not see any change related to this transaction."
Kappes was careful to note that the Public Service Commission still has jurisdiction over rates to consumers.
"We are still regulated by the Public Service Commission, in that we cannot have any changes to our rates without the approval of the Public Service Commission," he said. "As far as the decision to close the transaction at the Western Water level, I think there's been a lot of question over the PSC's jurisdiction from the city itself. We continue to be regulated here at the local level."
Kappes said, despite Mayor John Engen's assertion in his press release that the city has already won the condemnation case, he begs to differ.
"As far as the condemnation goes, nothing is going to really change there, because Mountain Water Company still owns the assets. Mountain Water and its upstream owner, now Liberty Utilities and the employees, we continue to appeal the necessity decision in front of the Supreme Court in that we don't feel it is necessary for the city to condemn Mountain Water Company, and we will continue to fight that battle within the Supreme Court."
KGVO News asked Kappes ' if the condemnation goes through, and the Supreme Court approves the necessity ruling, will the city will simply be purchasing Mountain Water from Liberty, rather than from Carlyle?'
Kappes replied "I think you've almost simplified it to the exact simplicity that it is, but I would add just one more aspect to that. The city will buy the assets from Mountain Water Company right now, just as if Carlyle still owned us.The assets that are condemning are Mountain Water's assets and Mountain Water Company still exists today. That's really how simple it is."
Kappes wanted to assure Mountain Water customers that, for them, nothing has changed.
"We continue to operate today the same as we did on Friday, just under different ownership," he continued. "We continue to serve this community, locally and responsibly, with the same employees that we had last Friday. The assets are still owned by Mountain Water Company, and we are still regulated by the Public Service Commission for rates and services."