Thanks a lot to Larry Wahl and a great group of voters for coming in to Chico Library the other day. I feel so overindulged – it was a rainy day, and I know most folks would rather stay home. I also feel glad I asked Wahl about the Cal Water rate increase. I asked him, as well as the assemblage, to e-mail the CPUC president, Michael Peevey – former president of utility giant Edison International and Edison Southern California – and protest the rate hike Cal Water is requesting.
Please read below, and if you are so inclined, write your own e-mail to Paul Hahn, County Administrative Officer, (PHahn@buttecounty.net), as well as the board members – (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask them to support us here. You might also e-mail Mr. Peevey ( Michael.email@example.com ) and let him know how you feel about having somebody else’s sweet retirement tacked onto your water bills.
I’m asking the Board of Supervisors to help us in our fight to stop the 38 percent rate increase proposed by Cal Water by writing a protest letter to the California Public Utilities Commission. The Board has already written to the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (see that letter at this link)
Now the DRA has made their recommendation to the CPUC that Cal Water’s proposal be cut down to about 19 percent. I still think this is too high, given this notice, below, I received in my bill a year or so ago – here they explain, we cut our usage so much they have to increase rates. Then they tell us where the money will go – over half for pensions. The employees pay nothing toward their own pensions.
“Based on water usage patterns in your area that have decreased significantly since Cal Water’s last filing, if the CPUC approves Cal Water’s proposed application, rates would increase the typical residential customer’s monthly bill by $9.37, or 29.4%, in 2014; followed by additional increases of $1.76, or 4.3% in 2015; and $1.83, or 4.3%, in 2016. Most costs of operating the water system are fixed, regardless of the level of usage. With lower water usage in your area, rates then have to be increased to cover the fixed costs.”
“Cal Water is proposing this change in rates due to the following factors:
- Cal Water is requesting $556,000 to retain the same level of employee health care, pensions, and retiree health care benefits for General Office personnel, the costs of which have increased faster than inflation.
- Cal Water is requesting $423,000 to retain for district personnel the same level of employee benefits described above
- Cal Water is requesting $415,000 for the allocation of General Office operation expenses
- Cal Water is requesting $395,000 to retain quality employees in the district
- Cal Water is requesting $163,000 for water infrastructure improvements between 2013 and 2016
I am asking the board and those of you receiving this e-mail to write letters to the CPUC, protesting this rate hike. 38 percent is totally unacceptable, and given what they intend to do with the money, 19 percent is still too much. Look at that notice – over a million dollars for their pensions, only $163,000 for infrastructure, over three years?
I’ve bought and sold houses and I’ve learned about negotiating with hostile people – don’t be shy, don’t back down. Mr. Hahn and supervisors, please use the strongest possible language. These people are trying to steal from us to enrich themselves and their stockholders off of our human needs. Stop feeling guilty about using water – if we don’t stand up now, they will be allowed to levy fines for watering your lawn and washing your car – read that proposal here:
You can contact the CPUC through their website, but I wouldn’t recommend that route. I would assume Mr. Hahn can find the correct channels. I started out with phone numbers, and was treated very badly – one woman demanded to know where I’d got her number! I was passed around from office to office. Finally, I found a woman named Sue Kateley – she’s the chief consultant to the state assembly committee on utilities and commerce. She gave me an address she believes to be that of CPUC president Michael Peevey – I don’t know why they are so weird about being contacted by the public, that’s their job! But it took me an extended e-mail conversation with her over about a week just to get that e-mail address.
I’ve written to Mr. Peevey at that address and believe it was received – I never received any notice that it had not been delivered. It astonishes me how badly these “public servants” treated me, as though I had no right to the information, no right to comment on this issue. I was told I needed to make an appointment and go to San Francisco to meet with whichever individual commissioners would agree to see me! Kately told me, I might even qualify for a stipend from the DRA to cover my gas, and get this – hotel room! Expect to stay a day or two, she says!
So, I wish the board and those of you attached would please write to Michael Peavey about this matter, at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let me know what I can do to help you – this should be done asap, they are making the decision this month.
Thanks, sincerely, for your anticipated cooperation, Juanita Sumner