While people here in Chico just don’t seem to get it yet, the folks in Marysville and Oroville have been networking to protest the way we are charged for our water usage. Having formed to protest the 38 percent rate hike scheme foisted by Cal Water, they found the real problem – a completely toothless and bought-0ff Public Utilities Commission. Those of you who attended the “rate increase hearing” they ran here last March will remember – they weren’t here to ask us about our water rates, they were here to tell us. The CPUC doesn’t work for us anymore, they work for the utility companies. We need to change that.
Not only is the CPUC holding open the door to this outrageous TAKING, but they have allowed private water companies for years to undermine supposed efforts to conserve water with what you see on your bill as the “WRAM” charge. That’s “Water Rate Adjustment Mechanism,” and you’ll notice it gets higher whenever your water usages goes down. That’s the whole point – Cal Water complained, we’d saved so much water, they had to raise our rates! WRAM allows them to do that, monthly, to individual households, without any hearings or notices. When you don’t use as much water, they charge you more per unit for what you do use.
Please visit their Facebook, which is open to the public.
The folks in Marysville have given me permission to reprint from their site, but you will find more stuff there than I have time to steal. Learn it, know it, live it – and then get on the phone and call Rendon’s office about it, follow it up with an e-mail. In the e-mail, mention your call. Be very professional. You’ll find contact information below.
From the Marysville For Reasonable Water Rates Facebook page:
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a DROUGHT in the State of California. Conservation of water only makes sense! To most people it is about saving water as well as money. But for the Private For-Profit water ratepayers, it means something very different. We will see the WRAM surcharge on our bills increase.
What is the WRAM-Surcharge that you see on your Cal Water statements?
“Water Revenue Adjustment Mechanism”
Historically rate-setting is accomplished every three years by predicting costs and customer usage and then establishing rates to cover such, including a fair utility return.
The change introduced by WRAM is that these predicated rates are translated into a required annual revenue goal. If this revenue goal is not met then ratepayers will be charged more later to adjust for the shortfall.
CPUC Definition of WRAM: A water revenue adjustment mechanism is a ratemaking account used to track the differences between an authorized revenue requirement and actual revenues collected from customers.
The motivation for this change was that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hopes to promote water conservation. If conservation is successful water demand drops and utility revenue also drops. It was a PUC decision that this revenue shortfall should be shouldered entirely by ratepayers.
The WRAM surcharge is the mechanism to make sure that Cal Water and all other private water companies meet their projected goal in profits.
One of our Water Warriors spoke with a Legislative Advisor, from the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA). She said that there has been no conversation concerning the WRAM charges in respect to the Governors 20% reduction in water usage. They are in the process of clarifying on just to what legal authority the 20 % imposes. She recommended we contact the below committees and submit written and in person comments to the committee meetings.
If the Governor imposed 20% conservation of state water as a moral obligation for all water users, the (Private for Profit Water Co.’s and the CPUC should have a moral responsibility to suspend the WRAM charge for Private for Profit Water Co.’s ratepayers .
Municipal water systems (cities and counties) users do not pay a WRAM Fee (ever!). But YOU do!!! YOU will see it increase during this mandated conservation!
Meetings are scheduled with the Utilities and Commerce Committee. Assembly Member Anthony Rendon, the California Public Utilities Commission; the California Energy Commission; the California Independent System Operator; Electricity Oversight Board; energy companies; common carriers; electricity; alternative energy development and conservation; natural gas; wireless, wireline and cable communications; international trade; Women and Minority Business Enterprises; and tourism will meet to discuss this. Also the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee will meet. Assembly Member Anthony Rendon, Chair of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. Committee Jurisdiction: Primary jurisdictions are water resources, flood management, fish and game, parks and recreation, and wildlife will discuss this.
We need to make sure that no one forgets that the ratepayers of the Private Water companies will be on the hook again for doing the right thing….conserving water.
PLEASE contact Assemblyman Rendon. Tell him that the WRAM surcharge is not fair during a normal year. It is especially unfair during a year that there is a mandated conservation!! Why should we be penalized for conserving water?
His Chief of Staff:
Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to make the call or send the email. YOU need to take the time to do this. This is your fight!!
STAND UP!! MAKE YOURSELF HEARD!!