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under construction - check back for more updates.
March 6, 2018
WRATES Update #38
A long overdue update… even though I haven’t sent out an update in a while, we have been busy.
1. COST OF CAPITAL application A.1704001
Administrative Law Judge Bemesderfer submitted his proposed decision for the Cost of Capital application and now SJWC et.al. is desperately trying to undo all our hard work and the judge’s proposed decision.
As you can see from the chart, ALJ Bemesderfer listened to ORA and the ratepayers and is authorizing less than what the water utilities requested.
SJWC and the other 3 class “A” water utilities (Cal Water, Cal Am & Golden State) are not happy with ALJ Bemesderfer’s proposed decision. All 4 water utilities have actively been requesting and the CPUC has been approving individual exparte meetings between the water utilities and the commissioners to influence the commissioners’ decisions.
In addition to the exparte meetings, the CPUC has also been receiving letters from the water utilities’ attorneys and various national organizations that these utilities pay dues/donations to. These letters are showing support of SJWC, CalWater, CalAm, and Golden State Cost of Capital application. All 4 water utilities are currently requesting an 80 minute Oral Argument before the commission to plead their case.
We, the ratepayers, do not have the benefit of high powered attorneys, lobbyists, special interest groups and/or executives to advocate for us. We rely on the CPUC and the ORA to advocate on behalf of the ratepayers and it is the statutory obligation of the CPUC to ensure the protection of the ratepayer and that rates are just and reasonable.
I am asking that all of you write a letter to the commissioners requesting that ALJ Bemesderfer’s decision be upheld. You can find more information on who to send your letter to at https://sjwfacts.weebly.com/cost-of-capital.html. The letter I submitted on behalf of WRATES can be located at the same link. Click on REBUTTAL LETTER. Thank you to Pat K. for your valuable insight, contributions, and letters to the CPUC. Scroll down on the Cost of Capital page to COST OF CAPITAL DOCUMENTS to view the documents submitted by the water utilities et.al.
2. CALIFORNIA COALITION MEETING
The California Coalition is growing and now represents over 1.5 million investor owned water utility customers throughout California.
Mary R. and I presented our case for CPUC reform at the California Coalition meeting on February 16 in the Lancaster City Council Chambers. Thank you Mary for all your valuable research. Bill S. also contributed information during Q and A. Thank you Bill. The meeting was video taped and can be viewed at the link http://lancaster.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1572. Begin at 35 minute 42 seconds to bypass introductions.
Here are links to a Youtube video I created in November and the Google Slides Mary and I created for our presentation.
3. CPUC Reform Bills
WRATES has been working with Sen. Beall’s office. We have 3 requests of him.
1. Write Bill to reinstate the Earnings Test which was in place for over 30 years until the CWA lobbied its removal in 2006.
2. Write Bill to reform how Advice Letters are submitted and processed
3. Open an investigation into SJW.
Sen. Beall is working on SB-959 (provides more transparency to water customers by requiring that large water companies keep an archive of pending, withdrawn, approved, and rejected Advice Letters on their websites.)
Sen. Wilk is working on SB-1461 (It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation reforming the rate of return earned by water corporations.
4. GRC A.18-01-004
SJWC has filed its 3 year General Rate Case (GRC) application with the CPUC. With this application, SJWC seeks to increase rates for the year 2019 by 9.76%, 2020 by 3.7%, 2021 by 5.17%. The basic application documents can be found at
http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/SearchRes.aspx?DocFormat=ALL&DocID=204158668 or https://sjwfacts.weebly.com/grc.html.
WRATES members have been meeting with councilmember Rocha and SJ City Manager and staff requesting that the City of San Jose become a party to the GRC proceedings. Thank you Pat Blevins for your tireless efforts setting up the meetings and contributing your knowledge. If this request is approved by council, the ratepayers will finally have a city actively involved with CPUC proceedings and carry a voice for the ratepayers. Thank you Bill for reading through all 11,000 pages of the GRC documents!
If you are a San Jose resident receiving this Update, please consider writing to Councilmember Rocha and Mayor Liccardo to request that they become a party to SJWC GRC. This should allow them to provide input on behalf of their residents.
CM Don Rocha email - email@example.com
Mayor Sam Liccardo email - firstname.lastname@example.org
5. CPUC Investigation into SJWC
The Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division at the CPUC who is evaluating SJWC’s questionable billing practices, informed me that he is in the final stage of filing his report to the commission. The commission will then evaluate the report and render a decision as to whether or not to open an Order Instituting Investigation (OII).
6. Upcoming Meetings
- City of San Jose Rules Committee meeting - Wednesday, 3/7/18 at 2:00pm, City Hall W118-120 - discussing CM Rocha's memo regarding party status to GRC proceedings.
- SCVWD meeting - Monday, 3/12/18 at 10:00am, regarding the capital improvements they are planning for the future.
WRATES, Water Rate Advocates for Transparency, Equity, and Sustainability
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Meade