I have some important news for our region to share: The San Francisco Superior Court has ruled the San Diego County Water Authority is the prevailing party in the agency’s first two lawsuits heard challenging rates and charges set by the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California.
The order entitles the Water Authority to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs in those cases, in addition to a $44 million damage and interest awardmade earlier.
“San Diego prevailed, and the judgment not only benefits its own ratepayers but all of thenearly 19 million people in Metropolitan’s service area because enforcing cost-of-service principles serves the interests of all ratepayers,” said Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo in her Jan. 13 order, which can be appealed.
The exact amount of recoverable fees will be decided later. It is deeply gratifying that the court not only validated our claims but acknowledged the importance of protecting ratepayers by water agencies following the law.
The order makes it clear once and for all that our desire to protect San Diego ratepayers was never intended to harm MWD, its other member agencies or the ratepayers they serve. Rather, the litigation was necessary to address serious flaws in MWD’s rates that will, as the court said, ultimately benefit not only San Diego County ratepayers, but all Southern Californians.
This order is another major step toward achieving Water Authority board objectives and one of my key initiatives as Board Chair: to conclude the litigation and work together with other MWD member agencies to address MWD’s water resource and rate challenges. This is essential in order to ensure MWD’s fiscal sustainability—and that of its member agencies—now and in the future.
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