The California Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved Thursday a joint request by State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, and Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, to audit the California Public Utilities Commission water rate setting processes. The audit request was submitted in April and examines an increase in water rates across the state. It stems from complaints from consumers in the Antelope and Victor valleys that rates, coupled with additional fees being charged, have created a financially unsustainable situation for many residents. Private water companies, which are regulated by the CPUC, are charging higher water bills in the state when compared to their publicly owned counterparts, according to a press release from Wilk’s office. Bills from customers showed rates have increased by over 215 percent over the last decade. “It is crucial that we ensure our folks in the Antelope Valley and throughout the state are not being overcharged by the utility companies we trust to provide them with clean and affordable water,” Wilk said. “Assemblyman Lackey and I are here to ensure our water companies and the entity that oversees them are properly serving consumers by providing reasonable rates. This audit is a big step in that direction as it will illuminate the regulatory practices driving rates through the roof.” “This audit will shed light on how water rates are set and what potential steps can be taken to keep them affordable for Antelope Valley residents,” Lackey said. The approved audit request will now go to the California State Auditor, which estimates the audit will take approximately six months to complete.