After all the carping I’ve done about the Cal Water rate increase proposal, it’s only appropriate that I should say THANKS! to the Butte County Board of Supervisors and Staff for sending a letter of protest to the state Department of Ratepayer Advocates. Today they voted unanimously to send the letter below. I’m going to send a copy to the Chico City Council and ask them to write a similar letter. I hope people will write to the council and back me up. Read the supervisors’ letter:
December 10, 2013
Mr. Joe Como
Office of Ratepayer Advocates
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102
RE: California Water Service Company General Rate Case
Dear Mr. Como:
On behalf of the Butte County Board of Supervisors, I am writing to express concern over the proposed increase filed by California Water Service Company (Cal Water). Butte County is served by two Cal Water service districts, Chico and Oroville, with customers of each facing proposed increases of more than 26%. Your office, then the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, proposed alternate rate increases of 7.2% for Chico and 16.1% for Oroville in March of this year, but those rates are not reflected in the recent settlement agreement.
The unemployment rate in Butte County at the end of June, 2013, was 10.3%. Although that rate has improved in the past year, it continues to exceed that of the State of California and the United States as a whole. While new home construction is on the rise throughout the State, the trend has not yet extended to Butte County. This is a very delicate time and while our local economy is finally showing signs of improvement, we are not yet out of the woods.
The proposed increases would have a significant negative impact that our community can ill afford.
It is our hope that the Office of Ratepayer Advocates can assist the thousands of Butte County citizens and businesses that would face economic hardship as a result of the proposed increase by working with the Public Utilities Commission and Cal Water to adopt more reasonable and affordable rates in the Chico and Oroville Water Service Districts next year. Even a phased increase over the next three years would help mitigate the impact on our citizens while still protecting Cal Water investors.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bill Connelly, Chair
Butte County Board of Supervisors
cc: Members, Butte County Board of Supervisors
The Honorable Brian Dahle, Member of California State Assembly
The Honorable Dan Logue, Member of California State Assembly