Prasa Faces Lawsuit for Overcharging Clients
SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rico Court of Appeals will hold hearings in August on a class-action lawsuit against the P.R. Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (Prasa), which argues the public corporation overcharged clients for water service between June 2005 and November 2007.
In the case of Fernando Toro Díaz v. the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority, the plaintiff claims Prasa adopted a rate structure to increase its revenue without holding a hearing process for rate hikes.
Attorney John Mudd explained that although the lawsuit was filed several years ago, it wasn’t until now that hearings began, after appeals were made on certain aspects of the case.
The complaint alleges that from June 2005 to November 2007, Prasa used a rate structure that changed its customers’ billing cycle from bimonthly to monthly and established three rate levels, raising costs in proportion to consumption. It also claims that because Prasa billed one month of consumption based on an average from a previous billing, without a real meter reading for every customer, clients were billed for an amount of water they hadn’t consumed.
The class action was certified for the purpose of qualifying the case for all residential Prasa drinking-water consumers from October 2005 to November 2007, who were overbilled for water service and paid Prasa in sums of money in excess of what was consumed.
Excluded from the complaint are employees, officials, directors, lawyers, and Prasa’s goods and services contractors. Officials from the Puerto Rico judicial branch are also excluded from intervening in the case’s procedures, as well as any individual who, acting on particular interests, shares conflicts with any of the representative plaintiffs.
Apart from Mudd, attorneys Héctor Moreno Luna, Peter John Porrata, Pedro Salicrup and María de Lourdes Calderón were designated for the committee representing the plaintiffs.
Hearings will be held Aug. 15, 16, 17, 21 and 22.