Donner Lake funds postponed |

Donner Lake funds postponed

SAN FRANCISCO – An administrative law judge postponed delivery of more than $4 million for repairs to Donner Lake Water Company’s water system Tuesday, Jan. 24, and will wait to hear further evidence before making a decision.

Judge Glen Walker postponed funds to Del Oro Water Company, parent company for Donner Lake Water Co., based on testimony by Terry J. Thomas, attorney for Real Parties, a contingent of Donner Lake Citizens Group for Drinking Water, who filed a protest with the California Public Utilities Commission last month.

The protest was filed on the grounds that Donner Lake Water Co.’s application for emergency funds contains false rate information, that the company is subject to condemnation, that the company’s plans are tied up in litigation and that the company has failed to maintain and repair the system at the expense of public health.

Judge Walker found the facts “highly contested,” according to Kathy Polucha-Kessler, a member of the citizens’ group and official with the Nevada County Department of Environmental Health. The citizens’ group expounded on a 10-year history of state mandated non-compliance, alleging the water company has consistently failed to upgrade and repair the system at the expense of public health.

In a press release issued Jan. 29, Del Oro expressed confusion at the protest filed by what they called “the motives of the few customers opposing and affecting Del Oro’s improvement process.”

“Customers caught in the middle continue to wait out what could be a lengthy, additional inconvenience,” wrote Del Oro spokeswoman Heather Milne.

Judge Walker granted the citizens’ group request for further public hearings, which will be held in Truckee March 28. The time and location has yet to be determined.

Judge Walker also scheduled evidentiary hearings April 3 to 5, at which time the citizens’ group, Del Oro and state agencies will present testimony to determine the fate of the emergency funding request.

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