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Golden State Water Co.'s request to raise water rates for its Santa Maria customers by over 26 percent across three years will be the topic of a public hearing slated for Tuesday. 

The hearing, which is set to begin at 6 p.m. in Shepherd Hall at the Santa Maria Library, will provide ratepayers the opportunity to address California Public Utilities Commission representatives on the proposed increases. 

No decision will be made at the Tuesday meeting. 

In a request to the Public Utilities Commission last July, Golden State Water proposed water increases in all eight of its service areas. Citing a need for return on capital investments and potential investments, Golden State Water presents $55 million in rate increases (phased in over a three-year period) beginning in 2019.

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Roughly 13,400 ratepayers in the Santa Maria service area (which include portions of Nipomo, Orcutt, Sisquoc, Tanglewood, Cypress Ridge and other surrounding areas) could witness a 19.15-percent increase to water rates starting in 2019, should the Public Utilities Commission approve the request. Those rates would then rise by 3.11 percent in 2020, and 3.89 percent in 2021.

A Spanish language translator will be available at the meeting.

Written comments can be submitted online by emailing in reference to proceeding number A.17-07-010.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga