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Water company ordered to issue refunds 

The state’s chief regulating agency for public utilities has levied fines on Golden State Water Co., and ordered the company to issue nearly $10 million in refunds to its customers.

Customers in San Luis Obispo County won’t see much of that sum, however.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced on Dec. 15 that it imposed a $1 million fine on Golden State and ordered $9.5 million in refunds go out to customers in various service areas over the next three years.

In the decision, the CPUC admonished the company for a lack of management oversight, which it said resulted in overpayment by customers. The commission included a fine on the company for failing to notify regulators of internal control failures and the subsequent impact on rates.

The $1 million fine will be directed toward the state general fund.

As a result of the settlement, Golden State Water customers in the Los Osos service area, which includes Edna Valley, will receive a total of $33,983 in refunds. Those in the Santa Maria service area, which includes Nipomo, will receive a total of $192,566 in refunds.

The majority of the refunds will go toward customers in Sacramento, Contra Costa, and Lake counties.

Additionally, Golden State has been ordered to reduce its rate base by $2.5 million, resulting in a total rate base decrease of $17,841 and $98,265 for customers in Los Osos and Santa Maria, respectively.

As a result of the oversight, the CPUC will conduct three additional independent audits over the next 10 years.

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