Please, Pretty Please…

That’s one view of the 2 petitions LHEUC filed with the SCC asking the state agency to revise its late February ruling. On 2/28/06, LHEUC filed with the SCC a Petition for Reconsideration in an attempt to reverse the SCC’s 2/23/06 decision nullifying LHEUC’s recent rate increase and proposed changes to its rules. Then, apparently sensing that its first petition just wasn’t persuasive, LHCC filed a second petition. Then, on the next business day, LHEUC re-filed this petition as its slightly modified second petition. Under Virginia’s Administrative Code, the SCC’s order is under the control of the Commission and subject to modification for a period of 20 days, or until mid-March.

The Petition contains some interesting and contradictory revelations.

First, the Petition continues to insist that LHEUC properly notified the SCC of its rate increase, despite Chris Allison’s admission in the Winchester Star on 2/25/06 that:

our counsel failed to file the tariff document with the SCC on Nov 3.

But this is more than a failure to file a tariff document.

LHEUC proposed a rate increase of almost 60%. Common sense says that LHEUC’s revenue would go up by more than 50%. When a utility proposes a rate increase that will increase its rates by over 50%, the utility must file with the SCC additional financial data at the same time it files the rate increase notice (Va. § 56-265.13:6c). Presumably, that requirement exists to give the SCC information to determine if such a large increase is justified. LHEUC has never indicated that it made this important filing, and the SCC has not acknowledged it received it.

In its pleading, LHEUC points out that LHCC has recently made payments to LHEUC to invest in utility improvements. We suspect that LHCC’s members heartily approve – utility service is of paramount importance to most members. But LHCC has had a change of heart. In its petitions it states:

It will no longer make such payments.

Apparently, LHCC has better things to do with its members’ money than support the Utility. It has a “very attractive business venture…” – investing in a golf course, as it outlined in a letter to members. If Carl Simms is able to sell the golf course for $1.75 million – the current asking price – to LHCC’s directors and get them to pay for it with members’ money, perhaps we should ask him if he might be willing to come to the aid of the Utility.

Interestingly, the pleas for emergency relief didn’t mention a word about the desire of LHCC’s board to go on a golfing adventure. Who needs drinking water when you can go golfing?

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