The Ridgewood Water customers in Glen Rock, Midland Park and Wyckoff are all winners from a lawsuit filed by the towns served by Ridgewood Water.
Superior Court Judge Lisa Perez Friscia on Thursday determined that Ridgewood had enacted rate increases for Ridgewood Water customers that were “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” and must recalculate rates and pay refunds to customers.
This lawsuit was based on the claim by the effected towns that Ridgewood water increased the water rates to offset village operating costs in 2011 – 2012.
Judge Perez went on and ordered the three Ridgewood water-rate ordinances be invalidated in addition to ordering that the matter be remanded to the village of Ridgewood for a hearing to recalculate water rates within 120 days.
The refund will be calculated based on the difference between what was charged and the actual costs as determined by the recalculation.
Based on this ruling, Ridgewood Water has a released a statement:
“Ridgewood Water and the Village of Ridgewood are pleased with Judge Friscia’ s decision and see the ruling as fair and thoughtful. Invalidating the three ordinances of 2010, 2011 and 2012 will allow the current Village Council to recalculate prior rate increases based on input from qualified experts. Further, the decision affords the Village the right to take the statutorily permitted surplus not taken in previous years, if appropriate. We believe Judge Friscia took a balanced approach based on plaintiff’s failure to prove damages and the court did not award the plaintiffs litigation costs or attorney fees. Ridgewood Water joins in the effort of the court’s decision to halt additional costs to the rate payers.
In the absence of a plaintiff appeal, the Village looks forward to a quick and reasonable resolution of this matter.
Ridgewood Water will continue to deliver a safe and reliable water supply at reasonable rates, and looks forward to the continued implementation of capital improvements.”
When asked, if this recalculation would effect current customers as well as the customers at the time (2010-2012), Ridgewood Water did not respond.