Cal Water Rate Hike on hold, judge wants to hear from somebody besides Cal Water!

I finally found some news about the Cal Water rate hike in the Marysville Appeal Democrat, in an article by Eric Vodden and Harold Kruger.

You can read the whole thing here

“An administrative law judge says he wants more information before he recommends approval of rate hikes sought by California Water Service in Marysville and other areas it serves.”

The judge, Robert Mason III (well!), says he needs “‘additional assistance from the parties’ as to whether the settlement ‘is reasonable in light of the whole record, consistent with law and in the public interest.'”

The “parties” – he means, us, the ratepayers.  I’d say, “No, no, NO!” 

Poor Bob, he had to drudge through a 378 settlement proposal, plus 240 attachments. He set these aside, I’m wondering, was he just flummoxed by that wad of crap? Said to himself, “I need to do some of my own research…” 

Thanks Bob – but I think we should thank people like Connie in Marysville, Craig up in Lucerne, and Celia in Oroville – cause that’s what made Bob reconsider, a lot of bitching and moaning on the part of regular citizens in  towns all over California. Several towns have even opted for municipal water, eminent domaining their local water providers. 

A “settlement” was  reached between Cal Water and the Division or Office of Ratepayer Advocates (they just made that name change, cost a bunch of tax money, and I can’t remember which is the old and which is the new…). The D/ORA settled for a 19 percent increase, down from 38. Well, Cal Water knew that would happen when they asked for 38, so I’m not biting. The D/ORA needs to go to the dentist, somebody took all their teeth. We need to stick up for ourselves, it seems our advocates have decided to advocate for the water company.

When Judge Mason announced he needed more testimony, Cal Water and their sagging dog  D/ORA responded with an 18 page joint statement ” that said the proposed settlement met the criteria set out by the judge.”

Well, we need to say, “no it didn’t…”

This decision was supposed to be made back in January, the can was kicked to March, obviously because of protest. That’s when Judge Mason made his statement, then the Appeal Democrat reported it April 27, I’m just getting ahold of it now, sorry. But, I think the way these things move along, you still have time to contact Judge Mason and let him know, you already pay ENOUGH.

I just got my latest water bill, and here it is – the WRAM insert that Maurice Picard talked about in his letter to the Enterprise Record. “If total customer water usage is higher than expected, customers receive a WRAM credit. If usage is lower than expected, customers pay a WRAM surcharge.”  Cal Water explains, “WRAM is to make sure Cal Water collects the right amount to cover the fixed and variable costs of providing water service…”  According to a notice I received last year, that includes almost a million a year in pensions and benefits for employees who pay nothing toward their own premiums. 

Furthermore, on the front of my bill, I read, “This bill reflects an 18-month surcharge for metered customers and flat-rate residential customers approved  by the CPUC to allow the recovery of fixed costs not covered due to unanticipated sales variation in 2013…”  Yes, they mean, they didn’t sell enough water, because we didn’t use enough water. This is IN ADDITION TO THAT MONTHLY WRAM CHARGE.

I’m writing my letter to Robert Mason via snail mail, because that’s the only reliable address I can get for the guy. They won’t give you an e-mail contact. So, I will be getting that in the mail by Monday. I’ll be super respectful and business like, I’ll answer his question above very succinctly, and I’ll send him a copy of my  bill with that notice, as well as the WRAM insert. Here’s that address:

Robert M. Mason III
Administrative Law Judge
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue, Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102


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