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PSC asked to reconsider Aloha rate hike

Public Counsel Jack Shreve thinks the agency erred in approving a water rate increase.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

TALLAHASSEE -- The attorney representing customers of private utilities is asking the Florida Public Service Commission to reconsider its granting a rate increase to Aloha Utilities in New Port Richey.

Jack Shreve, the Florida Public Counsel, filed the motion for reconsideration on Wednesday, outlining 12 areas in which he thinks the PSC made mistakes in giving Aloha a rate increase on Feb. 6.

In the motion, Shreve argues that Aloha customers are being made to pay for improvements that don't benefit them.

Aloha has 15 days to respond to the motion, and the PSC might hear arguments on the motion as soon as six weeks.

Aloha serves the Seven Springs and Aloha Gardens area of west Pasco, and has nearly 10,000 water customers.

The utility and state Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, have clashed in the past over rate increases and the quality of the water.

The last dust-up was over a letter sent to Aloha customers that said Fasano's appeals could cost customers. Fasano said the letter was "inaccurate," "exaggerated" and "misinformation," but state officials said the utility was within its rights to send it.

Greg Giordano, a spokesman for Fasano, on Thursday said Fasano will drop the issue of the letter. However, he said, Fasano would continue his efforts to keep Aloha from getting unfair rate increases.

"Rep. Fasano is going to stand with them," Giordano said.

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