California’s “water crisis” an “opportunity” for publicly traded companies

24 May

My friend from Marysville sent me this article that made me so mad – I hate being right all the time. Yes, it’s true, according to investment site – California’s “water crisis” has become “an opportunity for these publicly traded companies.

“California Water Service Group(NYSE:CWT), meanwhile, has seen its revenue rise 2% between 2013 and 2014 to US$597.5 million, while reducing total operating costs from US$491.05 million to US$488.93 million.”

Of course there’s a hearing this Wednesday (city chambers) about the new fines that will be imposed for those of us who use “too much” water –  this scheme rewards PIGS by basing your “allowance” on your past usage. If I do attend, it will be to see if any of our elected city or county representatives show up. I was able to get our county supervisors to write a couple of protest letters about last year’s rate increase, and that might have affected the outcome (increase reduced from proposed 38 percent to 20 percent). I would like to see our local electees work a little harder to protect our interests, but instead I see them increasing our garbage rates to get money for salaries and benefits. Not a good sign.

I would like to ask the Cal Water representatives where the fines will go – a court just ruled that utility companies can’t profit by charging more than it actually takes to provide their service, so where should these fines go?  They can’t go into the company’s profits, or be paid to their shareholders – shouldn’t this money stay right here in Chico, to be used for rebates and  other incentives to save? 

In some cities, water customers are offered financial help to re-landscape their yards, buy rain water storage tanks, etc. The city of Santa Cruz recently offered very nice rain barrels at a $100 discount:

Here in Chico, Cal Water will give you a “water conservation kit” which includes an adjustable hose nozzle, two low-flow shower heads, three faucet aerators, and some toilet leak indicator tablets. I priced the contents on and it looks like maybe a $50 value. You are allowed one kit per service address every three years.  

We picked up the kit for one of our rentals we were turning over – I was not impressed. The stuff was pretty rinky-dink chintzy – plastic parts, not long for this world. We already had all the items except the toilet leak indicator tablets, all better quality old stuff we’ve had for years, with real metal and rubber parts, made to last a long time. I predict these kits will not last the three years you are required to wait for a new one! 

I realize, you know too – Cal Water is not sincere about wanting us to save water – why would they be? They’re a FOR PROFIT operation, profiting off our most basic of needs. They want us to use plenty of water, and they will stick us whatever we do. 

When will you find your hind legs Chico? 









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