How far will people be pushed in this drought?

29 Jun

ER letter writer Daniel Courtice of Chico complained recently that even though his household had used less than their budgeted water amount, they got no “credit” in their “water bank.” He reports, “We put buckets in our shower, tubs in our sink, flush our toilets much less, take navy showers and our lawn is half dead” but received no kudos in their subsequent bill.

“I contacted Cal Water to discuss this discrepancy and was told that during the first month no one was getting credits for the water bank.” 

He asks “We all need to do our part in this drought crisis but how is this right that Cal Water is not living up to the agreement that was promised at the community water meeting?”

I had seen in my notice, they wouldn’t be giving that credit up until the July bill. My husband called it – use all you can until the end of May, or they’ll cut you off that much more next year. He was right.

I wonder if Courtice knows about WRAM – the “water rate adjustment mechanism” by which water companies manipulate the price of water each month to cover costs. If we use too little water, they are allowed to charge more to cover their salaries, pensions and benefits – “fixed costs”.  They explained exactly how much they needed to fund their salaries and pensions – hundreds of thousands of dollars a year –  in the first notice  I received, I think, three years ago?

  I can’t fault Courtice, Cal Water sends so many of these GD notices, who in their right mind is able to keep up with all the twists and turns. 

I am on pins and needles waiting for my next water bill. It better be good, is all I’m saying. We already led a pretty water wise existence, but we’ve cut back further. For one thing, we filled our Intex pool every June, and now that’s gone. We’ll see if that even makes a blip on the radar. 

It’s always frustrating to see how far people will be pushed before they get mad about something that’s not right. Cal Water posted big profits this year.

According to Yahoo Finance in the April 29, 2015 article, “California Water Service Group Holding (CWT) on Wednesday reported first-quarter net income of $1.6 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.”

Furthermore, “The San Jose, California-based company said it had profit of 3 cents per share.  The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 2 cents per share.”

How can they post a profit and still collect a WRAM charge every month? How can we let a for-profit corporation control our water?


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