Liberty Utilities Takes Over LCF’s Mesa-Crest Water Co.

Liberty Utilities Park Water Corp. has bought La Cañada Flintridge-based Mesa-Crest Water Co., which serves about 500 connections, or approximately 700 residents, in LCF.
The purchase price was $2,984,000, and the new owner plans to spend $2.5 million in capital investment over five years, said Frank Heldman, Liberty director of operations, in an email.
The official transfer of ownership was to occur at midnight on Wednesday, Heldman said.
Base rates for customers in La Cañada Flintridge will remain the same until at least 2022, when a General Rate Case — the process through which a company seeks state approval for a rate change — is expected to be finalized, he said. During that period, the only factor that could affect rates would be the cost of purchased water, he said.
Liberty is a subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., and provides regulated water and other services to more than 750,000 customers across the U.S., according to a company news release. Heldman said LCF customers will be part of a service area that includes such Greater Los Angeles communities as Artesia, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Compton and Norwalk.
Timothy Flynn, president of Mesa-Crest, which is located on Rinetti Lane, said this week that the move was “bittersweet.”
“I knew we had to sell,” Flynn said. “My brother [Thomas, also employed by Mesa-Crest] and I are not getting any younger. It was kind of a push [to get it done], but I appreciated it.”
Flynn’s father, F. Patrick Flynn, was the sole shareholder, secretary and treasurer for the company that was incorporated in 1956.
The transition for the sale was not smooth. The town of Apple Valley filed a protest before the California Public Utilities Commission in May 2017 against the effort to purchase Mesa-Crest, according to documents on the town’s website.
Apple Valley withdrew its protest in 2018 after Algonquin stipulated in court that rates there would not be negatively affected by the acquisition, Town Manager Doug Robertson said in an email.
The terms of sale of Mesa-Crest’s utility assets to Liberty were approved in a settlement agreement the CPUC issued on May 3. The sale will “fulfill the objectives” of a separate settlement that involved the state agency’s Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division and Mesa-Crest.
The CPUC had been investigating F. Patrick and Timothy Flynn and their firm to determine whether there was a “failure to ensure the safety and reliability of their supply of water to ratepayers” between about 1997 and 2015, according to an order filed by the CPUC on July 1, 2015.
The order was filed in San Francisco to determine whether the Flynns violated any provisions of the California Public Utilities Code, CPUC general orders, decisions or rules of practice and procedure or other applicable laws or requirements, in connection with a series of financial transactions.
The order directed the Flynns to “show cause why the [CPUC] should not petition the Los Angeles Superior Court to appoint a receiver for Mesa Crest,” but the Flynns filed a response denying all allegations on Aug. 7, 2015.
Timothy Flynn said he had nothing more to add about the settlement.
“Not really,” he said when asked if he had a comment. He said the water company had been around for 63 years but had leased its office in LCF for about 21 years.
“We’re looking at a smaller office somewhere else in La Cañada,” Flynn said. “Right now, we’re keeping things status quo. It’s been a pleasure serving La Cañada all these years. My brother and I grew up here. My grandfather came here in the [1940s]. We’ve been a big part of the community since the ’40s and I grew up with a lot of families we serve.”
Heldman, who said Timothy and Thomas Flynn will both be employed by Liberty, added his company was looking forward to serving its LCF residents.
“We’re very excited about this acquisition and the opportunity to provide reliable water service and exceptional customer care to the La Cañada Flintridge community,” he said.

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