State wants water firm to justify rate increase

Thousands of Sonoma County residents face a staggering 40 percent increase in their water rates – a hike that has raised eyebrows at a state agency that monitors and investigates utility prices.

The Division of Ratepayer Advocates, an independent arm of the California Public Utilities Commission, this week filed a formal protest against a request by California American Water Co. to raise prices for more than 600,000 customers across the state.

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Comment: The real problem is excessive state regulation, which drives up costs.