Tag Archives: Cal Water rate increase

If the city is sincere in helping us fight this Cal Water rate hike (A.15-07-015) , they need to apply for “Intervenor” status

7 Dec

I didn’t watch the last council meeting on tv, but the newspaper mentioned they’d voted to apply for “party” status on the Cal Water Rate increase case (Rate Case A.15-07-015). That’s really not much effort on their part, I’m very disappointed. A “party” can very well be supporting the rate increase. In order to formally protest, you have to get “Intervenor” status. The news story said they might be considering that, but it was pretty lackluster. We need to put a shine on their behinds with some letters/e-mails, get on that will you People.

It’s like watching your child learn to walk. You don’t want to praise or criticize too freely, but it’s hard not to be impatient with these people who expect to get the kind of salaries they get.


Would you look at those salaries and comp packages – Mark Orme gets an $82,000 package, in addition to his $225,000/year salary? How can a person who takes that kind of compensation be sincere in helping us out of our financial problems? Mark Orme doesn’t care about our water bill. 

But, according to the $taff report for last week’s meeting, he does care about this bill








This is a summary of the city's Cal Water charges for July 2014 - yeah, that's $29,000 for a month of Cal Water.

This is a summary of the city’s Cal Water charges for July 2014 – yeah, that’s $29,080 and some odd cents for a month of Cal Water. The total check was almost $35,000.

This bill is what I'd call a "pant loader".

This bill is what I’d call a “pant loader”.  There’s Chris Constantin, spending our money.

How does the city use so much water?


Each address where the city uses water has  separate billing. Here's a $440 bill for irrigating medians out at Cal Park. For one month!

Each address where the city uses water has separate billing. Here’s a $440 bill for irrigating medians out at Cal Park. For one month!


Here's the bill for the lawns along one side of Lower Bidwell Park.

Here’s the bill for the lawns along one side of Lower Bidwell Park.



Here's the bill for irrigating the medians at Forrest and Springfield. A few months earlier I had called in to report those sprinklers were running all over Forrest Avenue and $taff acted like they didn't even know they had sprinklers on Springfield Drive.

Here are two bills for irrigating the medians near Forrest Ave and  Springfield Drive. A few months earlier I had called in to report those sprinklers were running all over Forrest Avenue and $taff acted like they didn’t even know they had sprinklers there.


Hutchinson Greenway?

Hutchinson Greenway?


Here's the water bill for all those showers at the Taj Majal fire station on Manzanita.  One year the gas bill from showers at the cop shop put the police overbudget.

Here’s the water bill for all those showers at the Taj Majal fire station on Manzanita. I once listened to ex-finance manager Jennifer Hennessy report that the gas bill from showers at the cop shop put the police over budget. 


Wait a minute - here's the other half of that bill - over $1200/month to shower a bunch of guys who might put out a fire once a week?

Wait a minute – here’s the other half of that bill – over $1200/month to shower a bunch of guys who might put out a fire once a week?


I have other bills for this period. Last year I asked to view the city’s PG&E and Cal Water bills for this period, and took pictures with my little digi-cam. They would have charged me per page to have copies – don’t go for that, they include stuff you don’t need, blank pages, and charge you for it. This digi-cam was one of the best investments I’ve ever made. 

These bills are for 2014, when we already knew we were in a drought and Cal Water was making dire warnings of rate increases, water rationing, punitive fines, etc.  I’ve seen the city waste water on landscaping for years – look at the beds at City hall on a dry day, you will see water run-off. I saw stains from water run-off all around the flower beds when I went to a meeting last week. I’ve turned off my sprinklers over a month ago, the city is still running sprinklers on their flower beds, what, every day? 

To see this kind of waste on the part of our city leaders  when Cal Water is threatening and fining homeowners for watering a postage stamp lawn is very discouraging.

I would like to go down and get the bills for the same period this past July/August, but I don’t know when I will have time. I’ll try to do it soon, before they throw them out. They’re throwing stuff out hand-over-fist down there these days, nothing like a paper trail to get you in the rear end later.



City council makes last minute agenda change, announces Cal Water presentation tonight

6 Oct

Added to the council agenda late yesterday, Cal Water is scheduled to make a “presentation” before tonight’s regular council meeting.

I have been asking Mayor Mark Sorensen to become an “Intervenor” and formally protest this rate hike. He has not responded to me in any way, but announced at a previous meeting he wanted to bring Cal Water in.  I’ve watched the agendas eversince, and when I checked the agenda that was mailed to me last week for tonight’s meeting, there was nothing about Cal Water.

Last night after I heard it on the news, I checked again – still nothing. My Third District Supervisor Maureen Kirk e-mailed me to say she’d seen the news bit but had also checked the agenda and found nothing.

Oh, but now it’s suddenly on the agenda. The miracle of computers, eh?

It’s scheduled for the first part of the meeting, under “Presentations.” When I received the agenda last week, North Valley Ag was the only business listed there.

I know – it really doesn’t matter. I’m not planning to attend. I sent a list of questions to Mark Sorensen and Sean Morgan:

I see the Cal Water presentation has been added to the agenda – it was not on the agenda I received last week, I looked for it.  I heard it on the news last night that Cal Water would be making this presentation.  Thanks for keeping me in the loop (sarcasm alert). 


I don’t know if the public will be allowed to ask questions, but looking at their presentation I see there’s nothing about employee expenses, pension liability, or how much employees pay toward their own  benefits and pension.


I hope one  or all of you will ask these questions. And, I’d also like to know – why hasn’t the infrastructure been maintained? Why all these repairs now? What projects do they have to show for the last three consecutive rate increases we’ve received over the last 5 years? One notice listed $384,000 for pensions, and only $164,000 for infrastructure. I still have that notice.

Thank you for your due diligence to this matter, Juanita Sumner

I’m going to hold my breath until after the meeting. The Marysville City Council also invited Cal Water in for a “presentation.” They listened politely, asked a few pointy questions, and then voted unanimously to become an “Intervenor” and formally protest the proposal. 

Maureen Kirk has got “party” status, meaning, CPUC sends her updates of what is happening with our case. I’ve asked and asked for the county to become an Intervenor, Maureen has told me she’s going to check again with county counsel Bruce Alpert to see if that’s happening. 

Imagine my surprise when I read this on the Marysville For Reasonable Water Rates:

Interestingly, Butte County is also seeking party status. It filed its motion in late August.

“With or without consolidation, the proposed rate increases would impose a significant burden on the county, as a customer of Cal Water. Further, the rate increases would affect an undue hardship on county residents in the Chico and Oroville districts, as many Cal Water customers in these areas are of limited means,” Butte County’s county counsel wrote. “The average income in the affected county areas is low to moderate, with many customers on fixed incomes and/or government assistance. Economic development in these areas is slow to regain footing, as the economy is slow to recover.”

Wow! That was hard-hitting stuff.

But there was more.

“The county, as a Cal Water customer and on behalf of its residents residing in the Chico and Oroville districts, has an interest in opposing consolidation and minimizing the proposed rate increases in the above-captioned application based on the direct burden to the county and the hardship of the affected county residents,” the county’s filing said.

Wow again!!

Butte County isn’t taking any guff from Cal Water. The gloves are off.

Well, that’s nice of the MFRWR to say, but I’m very disappointed that Butte County did not use Bruce Alpert’s very expensive time to pursue Intervenor status. 

I’m disappointed in myself somewhat, I wish I could muster up the motivation to file for at least party status, write up some sort of protest – but here’s the thing. I don’t like standing up like that, with nothing but a cold breeze blowing up the back of my skivvies.

We’ll have to see what our council decides to do.

Marysville’s take on ORA protest – “Why would anything be confidential – does the ratepayer not have a right to know everything that they are paying for?

4 Sep

From Marysville for Reasonable Water Rates Facebook



The Office of Ratepayers Advocates has filed a PROTEST on many items in the newest California Water General Rate Case aka water rate increases.

Below are totals of this proposed increase for ALL of California.

$94,838,100 or 16.5% – 2017
$22,959,600 or 3.4% – 2018
$22,588,200 or 3.3% on January 1, 2019



General Office additions of:
$39 million
$24 million is designated for computers/software;
$2.2 million General office;Water quality lab improvement project

CAL WATER HAS MADE A-Special Request: Eliminating 10% Cap on WRAM Amortization.


Cal Water identified many items, and occasionally entire pages, as confidential that have not been marked confidential in other Class A Water Utility GRC’s, nor in previous Cal Water applications. Additionally, much of this material is publically available elsewhere, such as on the Urban Water Management Plan website. ORA is concerned that this overly broad approach to confidentiality will negatively impact ORAs review process and the public’s ability to evaluate and potentially participate in the


Visalia files formal protest of Cal Water’s recent rate increase proposal

26 Aug

Good news from Third District Supervisor Maureen Kirk – the city of Visalia has filed a formal protest of their rate increase case. Of course it’s a separate filing but at last the attack seems to be on.


I. INTRODUCTION Pursuant to Rule 2.6 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, the City of Visalia (“Visalia”) files this protest to the application of California Water Service Company (“CalWater”) for an order 1) authorizing it to increase rates for water service by $94,838,100 or 16.5% in test year 2017, 2) authorizing it to increase rates on January 1, 2018 by $22,959,600 or 3.4%, and on January 1, 2019 by $22,588,200 or 3.3% in accordance with the Rate Case Plan, and 3) adopting other related rulings and relief necessary to implement the Commission’s ratemaking policies. CalWater’s application first appeared in the Commission’s Daily Calendar on July 14, 2015, therefore this protest is timely filed.

II. ISSUES IN DISPUTE As a general matter, Visalia intends to address the reasonableness of the revenue requirements requested by CalWater in its districts in general, but in the Visalia District specifically, and the associated ratemaking mechanisms on behalf of all ratepayers. Visalia does not know at this time which specific issues it will focus its analysis. It is likely that Visalia will address issues similar to those addressed in the last water company general rate case, personnel, general office, capital, special requests, and, if applicable, rate design. Visalia may also address additional issues as its analysis proceeds.

III. PROCEDURAL MATTERS A. Proceeding Categorization and Need for Hearings Visalia agrees with CalWater’s categorization of this proceeding as “ratesetting” and need for hearings. B. Proposed Procedural Schedule Visalia does not have a schedule to propose at this time but does request that hearings be held at several locations in which Cal Water operates, and that Visalia be a location for a hearing.

Wow, that seems simple enough, but  try writing stuff like this in layman’s language and see how fast they lay their hand across your forehead – NEXT! I’m hoping our county counsel will do something like this, and this morning I sent a note to Chico Mayor Mark Sorensen and City Mangler Mark Orme, asking for some action on their part.

To: mark.sorensen@chicoca.gov, mark.orme@chicoca.gov
Hi Fellows, 
I’m forwarding this I got from Maureen Kirk – the city of Visalia has filed a formal protest of their water rate increase. It’s time for the city of Chico to look into this. 
You can check with Maureen, the county is thinking about filing also. 
I would file myself, but looking at these forms and having discussed the subject with a CPUC employee, I realize I’d need legal help that is already available to you. 
I don’t know how much you know about this rate increase. Cal Water is also asking for consolidation with the Oroville and Marysville and Willows districts, which have outrageous infrastructure costs due to many years of neglect of their systems. According to a separate protest filed by the Office or Ratepayer Advocates, Cal Water has made requests that are not included in the public notice, including but not limited to an elimination of the 10 % cap on WRAM. 
I can forward you the information from the ORA if you are interested. You can get more information from Maureen. 

Thanks for your anticipated attention to this matter, Juanita Sumner

Please send a simple note like the above to the Marks, ask them nicely to act on this rate increase. If we can get enough people to protest this thing, we have a very good chance of turning it back.

Utility rates on the rise – good news, our county supervisors may be riding to the rescue

24 Aug

Today we got our PG&E bill. Do you read your PG&E bill?  It’s more interesting than your cereal box, certainly, but oftentimes raises more questions than it answers. 

I save my bills, partly to collect my Utility Tax Rebate, but mostly because that’s the only way a person would know how PG&E manipulates the rates. I know, but I still don’t understand. It’s complicated.

I don’t have to tell you that, I mean, you read your bills. Right?

I compared this most recent bill with the bill from the same period in 2014.  They’ve drastically raised Baseline and Tier quantities (the amounts you are allowed to use) while at the same time raising rates, so it’s hard to tell where it all settles.  I see my family used 150 less kilowatt hours than this same period last year – wow, good for us! But, here’s the thing –  that’s 150 kwh at Tier 4 (.33/kwh) – that would have cost me another $49.50 if I actually used it. So, I figure, I shaved that much off my usage, I’d see a significant difference in the total amount due.  But, my electric charge for this period is only $3 less than that same period last year, when I used 150 kwh more.

 I just don’t get that.

Hey, I finally did get  that Cal Water rate increase insert that had been casually left out of my latest water bill. If you didn’t get that insert, which was supposed to explain the latest rate increase proposal and tell you how you could participate in the CPUC decision, please call Cal Water Customer Service Manager Renee Thatford, at (530) 893-6380 and ask her to send you one. 

Although, the insert does not tell us everything Cal Water asked for in their proposal.  In the very defensive insert, Cal Water insists they are only trying to “ensure that water rates accurately reflect the cost of providing water service,” and that consolidation with the Marysville, Oroville, and Willows districts will “improve affordability“, but they don’t say, what costs or whose affordability.  What they are leaving out is their annual pension costs, and also that they were denied their last rate increases in some districts because they were too onerous for the ratepayers to bear. Now Cal Water is trying to hide costs for those districts in Chico!

And lastly, they say they will, ” develop administrative efficiencies.”  I will speculate that means, more money for salaries, benefits and pensions. Maybe somebody from Cal Water has a better explanation, I’ll be glad to run it.

“Reasons for Increase” 

  • 3.5% of the increase is for projected water supply costs
  • 96.5% of the increase is for water infrastructure improvements

I don’t understand that 3.5% “projected water supply costs” – we have our own water here, they should give us more itemization there. And then, notice how they’ve lost the “develop administrative efficiencies” thing already and gone straight to “water infrastructure improvements” – they need to itemize this stuff. 

And there’s a lot more that’s not in this notice. You can read the whole proposal at Cal Water’s office on MLK Parkway here in Chico, or you can send a written request for a paper copy to their San Jose Office. 

Be sure to read that carefully – the Office of the Ratepayer Advocate has already filed a formal protest of this action based on the following complaint, including these “Requests not included in the Proposed Application”.  


ORA is still reviewing Cal Water’s Application, but has identified several issues that it intends to review and potentially address during this proceeding.

A. Requests not Included in the Proposed Application Should be Stricken

The application includes multiple requests that were not included in the proposed application. The Rate Case Plan states “[t]he application shall conform to the content of the PA (Proposed Application), as approved by ORA.”1 Pages 16-17 of the General

Report of California Water Service (dated July 2015) include the following new requests not included in the Proposed Application:

o Special Request: Eliminating 10% Cap on WRAM Amortization

o Special Request: Continued Authorization for Balanced Payment Plan

o Special Request: Permanent Credit Card Program

o Special Request: Temporary Metered Service Tariff

o Special Request: Public and Private Fire Protection Tariffs

o Special Request: Rule 15 Main Extensions Clarifications

o Eight Additional items were added to the Special Request regarding Memorandum and Balancing Accounts

As ORA was not given opportunity to perform a deficiency review on these requests, and these requests do not conform to the content of the Proposed Application as approved by ORA, they are outside of the scope of this application and should be stricken.

Maureen Kirk has got the county board of supervisors to support a formal protest of this action too. For more information, write to Maureen Kirk, 3rd District Supervisor, at mkirk@buttecounty.net, and ask her how you can  help. 


Latest proposal by Cal Water will merge Chico district with Marysville – where water rates are 300 – 400% higher than surrounding communities

5 Aug

I guess you all heard Chico surpassed the water reduction target imposed by Cal Water and The Moonbeam. 

Well nobody cares, get ready for another rate increase. 

Here’s something I know you’ve all seen – my family went a few ccf’s over budget – what a bunch of soooooouuuuiiiieeeeee pigs! But you know what’s funny? We still paid a WRAM charge of about $4. “Water Rate Adjustment Mechanism” – they didn’t make enough money to cover “operating expenses” (their pensions) so they just cut up the deficit and tacked a portion onto everybody’s bill. Isn’t that kind of crazy – they say I went over my allowance, but they still stick me for not using enough

Welcome to California!

We have to fight this new proposal, write those letters to your county board of supervisors in care of clerk Kathleen Sweeney:


Ask the supers to write a letter to the CPUC protesting this merger. Here’s why:

From Lou Binninger in the Territorial Dispatch:

Marysville residents are already in shock over the region’s highest water rates, 300-400% higher than the surrounding communities of Linda, Olivehurst and Yuba City. By moving 10-minutes away Marysville people could save enough on their water bills over a year to make a month’s payment on a house.

With water rates scheduled to go up another 26% by 2016 council members may face some gnarly voters if another tax measure shows up on the ballot.

Read more at 


Recent state court ruling “a disappointment” to water districts hoping to use drought as an excuse to raise rates

24 Jul

I read a piece in today’s Sacramento Bee, written by Dave Kasler – “Court won’t budge over water”. 

Kasler writes, “the state Supreme Court has kept intact a ruling that makes it harder for municipalities to impose tiered pricing to discourage heavy water use.” Governor Jerry Brown was quoted as saying the ruling represents a “potential strait jacket” for regulators. 

The court cites Proposition 218, a ballot measure passed in 1996 that forbids municipalities from charging fees that represent more than the actual cost of providing the water. In other words, these water utilities can’t use the drought to make an extra profit, like they’ve been trying to do.

While the decision came out of a case involving the city of San Juan Capistrano, it looks like it will also affect all water districts in the state.  “What was particularly alarming to state officials was that the court of appeal ‘published’ its decision, extending it’s impact to the whole state.”

San Juan Capistrano will have to make refunds to customers, but, this may not be the end of gratuitous rate increases. The ruling allows rate increases as long as “they tie their rates to cost to comply with Prop 218.” Ask yourself, exactly what is meant by costs?  The notice we got in 2013 included over $300,000 for pensions, and $165,000 for infrastructure. They consider their own pensions to be our cost.

Compliance seems to be up to the water district. For example, “Sacramento Suburban Water District said it thinks it’s tiered pricing complies with the court ruling.”    Uh-huh, sure it does Honey.

These agencies are “quasi public” and should have to show their books. We should know exactly how much they spend on themselves, and we should know what the investors are getting. We need our city officials to stick up for us like the city of Selma, near Fresno. 

“[City manager Ken]Grey explained, ‘It’s a grave disappointment to the city of Selma to see this kind of an increase, it draws into question the operational aspects of Cal Water providing services to the city of Selma and certainly the city council is going to have to give consideration to whether or not they continue this relationship with California Water Services.'”

In fact, one city council member is calling for the city to buy the utility right out of town. Read more at Marysville for Reasonable Water Rates:


That’s really a discussion Chico needs to have, now. If you dig through a pile of crap Downtown, you might find the reports regarding the clean-up of wells around town – wells used to make a profit by Cal Water, cleaned at the expense of the city, the taxpayers, the ratepayers.  Now that the city has foot the bill to clean all the wells, just what “infrastructure” is Cal Water intending to fix?

Remember people, if you want Accountability, you have to provide it yourself. 

Latest Cal Water rate case includes proposal to merge water districts – that will be really bad for Chico

8 Jul

Thanks very much to the folks at Marysville for Reasonable Water Rates for staying on top of Cal Water’s incessant vampire demands. I have tried to get information online and have made various phone calls but come up with years old news and endless recordings referring me to other numbers with endless recordings referring me to other numbers. The Marysville  people have actually filed a formal complaint to the CPUC – that’s a lot of paperwork, not to mention, mileage on your car, hours spent on the phone, etc. 

I do not have a copy of the latest rate case, but here’s a report from Marysville. I’ve highlighted information that should give Chicoans a jolt. 

From the folks at Marysville for Reasonable Water Rates Facebook site:



Let’s start out with a little history lesson. Cal Water rates have no where to go but up and up!! In 2011 Cal Water raised water rates in Marysville 53%. Cal Water filed a General Rate Increase and wanted an additional 47%. At the end of the day, after a Formal Complaint was filed with CPUC, and Marysville fought back, we saw an approx. 11% increase. Now Cal Water wants an additional 20% increase. 53% + 11% + 20% = 84% increase in 5 years!! HOLY MOLY!! Not to mention the WRAM surcharge etc.

There are a couple of things that jump out at you in the General Rate Case application that Cal Water filed last week. They want to consolidate operations and rate-making with Marysville, Chico, Oroville and Willows districts. If the consolidation is approved by the almighty CPUC, Marysville rates would increase by approx. 26%. Hold that thought!!! Think about it!! Does that seem to be in the best interest of Marysville? NO!

The GRC states that Cal Water will use 108.3% for infrastructure. Now everyone needs to keep their cell phones handy and snap a picture if you see Cal Water replacing any pipes under Marysville streets.

And to add insult to injury, we included the salaries of the top executives for Cal Water. YOU are paying for those. Including the $500,000 incentive award for the CEO. HOLY COW!! Just think of how many water pipes they could replace with that.


Are you going to sit there and say nothing about consolidating with other cities (most of which have higher water rates)? Are w going to file another Formal Complaint? Is it time to take the signs out of storage and unite?


1.8%- 2018
1.0%- 2019

The Application
The CPUC requires Cal Water to submit GRC applications every three years to ensure that water rates accurately reflect the cost of providing water service. As part of its GRC, Cal Water has proposed consolidating operations and rate-making for its Chico, Marysville, Oroville, and Willows Districts to improve affordability and develop administrative efficiencies.

With Consolidation – If this consolidation is approved by the CPUC as proposed, Cal Water requests revenue increases for the consolidated district of $6,545,081, or 20.3%, for 2017, $676,337, or 1.7%, for 2018 and $960,412, or 2.4%, for 2019. With consolidation, the total revenue increase over the three years would be $8,181,830 or 25.4%.

Without Consolidation – If consolidation is not approved, Cal Water requests revenue increases for its Marysville District of $593,654, or 16.3%, for 2017, $77,574, or 1.8%, for 2018 and $41,081, or 1.0%, for 2019. Without consolidation, the total revenue increase over the three years would be $712,309 or 19.6%.

Cal Water has been providing water to California communities for nearly 90 years, and many of the facilities used for water service have reached the end of their useful lives. For the Marysville District, Cal Water’s requested increase reflects some of the following components:
_ 3.9% of the increase is for projected water supply costs
_ 108.3% of the increase is for water infrastructure improvements
_ -12.2% of the increase is for projected operation and maintenance expenses

The following table shows the base salaries for each executive for 2013, 2014, and 2015:
These increases are intended to compensate the individuals for job performance and overall leadership while being within the “competitive range” of the market data for target total cash compensation for similar positions (“competitive range” is described in more detail above and below).
Martin A Kropelnicki $ 640,000 700,000 $ 770,000
Thomas F. Smegal 360,000 381,600 390,000
Francis S. Ferraro 409,000 423,315 432,000
Lynne P.McGhee 235,000 243,000 265,000
Paul G. Townsley 310,000 325,000 335,000

CEO Pay Overview
Mr. Kropelnicki, the Group’s CEO since September 1, 2013, made significant contributions to the Group’s performance in 2014. Based on the 2014 performance objectives. granted Mr. Kropelnicki an equity incentive award with a value of $500,000 for 2014. With a 2014 base salary of $700,000 and his $175,000 short-term incentive compensation bonus (representing a payout of 100% of target for 2014), his total compensation for 2014 was $2,812,657 (as reported in the Summary Compensation Table), which is higher than his 2013 compensation of $968,383 (which included compensation prior to his appointment as CEO). Mr. Kropelnicki became the Group’s CEO on September 1, 2013, and, as such, his 2013 compensation primarily was for his service and contributions.

While all of the above is shocking, the proposal to merge districts is what Chico should be concerned about.

The reason it would be bad to consolidate districts is that Chico enjoys far lower costs than any of the surrounding towns. The rate increases these towns have seen dwarf ours by a mile. The water company knows places like Oroville and Marysville aren’t going to take it much longer, not to mention, their increases have already been declared onerous and excessive by the appropriate state boards and agencies. Local government officials up and down the state have chimed in that the water companies are taking rude advantage of their constituents in the more rural areas, so the water companies are looking to spread the pain.

If you think our rates have been unfair in past, just get ready for a jack boot to the rear-end Chico.

I’ll ask, when will Chicoans be ready to take some signs down to the Cal Water Office on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive? I have old Measure J signs, they are still perfectly good. I am not above turning them inside out and stenciling “Cal Water Employees pay your own benefits” on them and handing them out to anybody who will post them next to their meter box.

Cal Water profits up 20% over 2013, attributed to rate increase, lower expenses

23 Mar

SAN JOSE, CA–(Marketwired – Feb 25, 2015) – California Water Service Group (NYSE: CWT) today announced 2014 net income of $56.7 million, an increase of 20%, or $9.5 million, over 2013, and diluted earnings per share of $1.19, an increase of 16.7%, or $0.17 per diluted common share, compared to the prior year. The company also reported that it spent $132 million on capital improvements during 2014, an increase of 7%, or $9 million, compared to the prior year.

The increase in net income is attributable primarily to the approval of the General Rate Case (GRC) of the Company’s largest subsidiary, California Water Service Company (Cal Water), as well as reductions in administrative and general, other operations, net interest, and property tax expenses. Reductions in these expense categories were partially offset by increases in employee wages and health care, income tax, maintenance, and depreciation and amortization expenses.

Read more here:


Read it yourself – they raised our rates, gave themselves salary increases  and better benefits packages. Those increases in our rates had nothing to do with service, or, ha ha, the drought! There it says, expenses, aside from their own wages, went down.  

Remember the old saying, “When the fish stinks, it’s the head of the fish that stinks.” The head of this stinking fish is Jerry Brown, and he is just one head of a monster called the Democratic Party. 

I hate to say, the Republicans are no better. We have two major political parties in our state – two groups of ultra-rich assholes, fighting over the little pie we call California. Here we are in the middle – the middle class, the working class, the not-poor-enough-to-matter class. Do you feel unwelcome here sometimes, like, if they can’t get a salary off you, they just want you to move to Nevada? 

How do they get away with this every three years?

16 Aug

I’m sitting here in shock over the announcement that Cal Water got 20 of the 38 percent they asked for in a rate hike. And here’s the kicker Girls – retroactive back to January of this year. The CPUC had delayed the decision, so they agreed to make it retroactive. The announcement claimed the average retroactive amount would be $56, just glued on to your next bill. That’s based on the assumption that we all spend the lion’s share of our time at work and school, flushing public toilets and drinking bottled water.  Mine will more likely be over $100 – God I’m a pig. 

I got a comment from John B., reminding me, Cal Water asks for a rate increase about every three years. It’s automatic or something. 

my comment is about the 20% increase in water rates that was just approved, how do they get away with this every 3 years,they ask for raises to build new water tanks,repair/replace infastructure,new office to cut down cost,but when these things are done the cost still stay in place,so if they ask for 500k to build a water tank in there rates they are getting that 500k every 3 years forever.why do we not see a decrease when projects that the money was for are complete maybe a little for upkeep. they have increases in effect from 20yrs ago for completed projects. take out the public in cpuc

He’s right, they make it sound temporary, but they never use the word “sunset,” or give a date. They just use these excuses to perpetually hike our rates to cover their pensions, like I said in my letter to the ER:

Chico Cal Water ratepayers have been wondering about the “WRAM” charge on their bills. WRAM is the “Water Rate Adjustment Mechanism,” by which Cal Water manipulates our rates monthly to cover what Chico manager Pete Bonacich calls “operating expenses.”

Contacted by Action News 24, Mr. Bonacich described “operating expenses”. “We still have to have people go out and read our meters, we still have to have people go out and check our well sites, and maintain our pumps and things like that.”

Like Chico Police, Butte Vectors, CARD and other public and quasi-public employees, Cal Water employees get defined benefits, for which they pay zero to nine percent. They expect us to pay the rest. The Chico water rate increase notice I received in my bill included “$556,000 to retain the same level of employee health care, pensions, and retiree health care benefits for General Office personnel…” and another $423,000 for field workers’ benefits, for one year, but only “$163,000 for water infrastructure improvements between 2013 and 2016.”

We are faced with a wave of tax and rate increase proposals to pay for pensions for workers who pay little to nothing for 70 to 90 percent of their highest year’s pay, available as early as age 50. Please join Chico Taxpayers Association in protesting unsustainable compensation. Protests from Chico ratepayers have resulted in a decrease in the water rate increase proposal which is currently before the CPUC – together we can and do make a difference.

I meant that about making a difference. They wanted a 38 percent rate hike, and while I’m sure they asked for more than they really wanted, I’m also pretty sure they would have got that 38 and liked it plenty if we hadn’t squawked about it.

I won’t give Chico much credit, Marysville and Lucerne and some other towns made a lot more noise. We owe them a lot of thanks. Those letters got one CPUC commissioner to at least set it aside, he asked for more comments from ratepayers. I’m guessing if we’d given him more, we might have got a better shake than 20. Oh well. 

John says, “take out the public in cpuc [California Public Utilities Commission]…”  This has already been accomplished – our governors, from Gray Davis on to Jerry Brown II have built a commission out of former employees of the utility giants. The current president of the CPUC, Michael Peevey, once headed Edison South and other power companies. 

Screaming bloody murder about this stuff is good, but we have to start voting for some new people. We have to start in our local elections, get rid of these union plants.