James Hunter

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Drought Surcharges! Your water bill is really going up! San Jose Water Company (SJWC)

On June 15, 2016 posting to the Blog I posed several questions, wondering which SJWC would impose on us (ratepayers). They simply imposed all of them! The following takes a close look at the requests and decisions made by both SJWC and SCVWD, especially what it could cost you. Note, updated 6/27/2016 to include monthly Service Charge for your meter.

The following shows the "base rate" per unit (CCF=100 cubic feet):
New 2016 Rates, effective July 1, 2016, page 8
Now we'll look at the ADV 491, SJWC requested speedy approval, for the Drought Surcharges.:
2016 Drought Surcharges (SJWC), ADV 491 
This creates a relatively complicated formula for calculating what you'll pay SJWC, for a Unit (CCF):

Monthly Drought Allocation 2016
Before I take a look at the actual cost per unit you'll pay there seems to be a calculation in ADV 490 that may mislead ratepayers, of SJWC: 
SJWC Example Ratepayer Monthly Increase, 2016
As the Monthly drought allocation shows, would be incorrect the months Oct., Nov., and Dec. SJWC would be  incorrect, depending on your viewpoint either 50% or 100%. Let's just chalk this up to SJWC fast reaction to "accurately and quickly charge ratepayers", as appropriate under the "rules" and the cart got in front of the horse.

If we take the months July through December 2016, using December in the example, the average ratepayer per SJWC and the Information in ADV 490 and 491: (Apologies, I realized the "Monthly Service Charge" for each meter wasn't included, in the estimate below.

(Service Charge per meter $21.21) + (3 units x $4.06) + (9 units x $4.51) + (2 units x $4.51 + 2 x Drought Surcharge)  (1 unit $4.51  +  1 Drought Surcharge) results in ($21.21) + ($12.18) + ($40.59) + ($9.03 + $ 7.12)($4.51 + $7.12) =

$101.76 per month for the average SJWC Ratepayer in December 2016
Merry Christmas!
(includes only service charge, water and penalties, not taxes or other charges included, since Attachment B not included)

Readers should be aware I'm on the Attachment D (Distribution List),  but I did not receive Attachments A, B and C. I'm unable to verify or compare the SJWC the "All surcharge surcharge and bill comparison calculations". I wonder what SJWC meant by "surcharge surcharge"? Since Attachments A, B and C were not attached to my emailed copy, that may be reasonable grounds for a complaint, to CPUC or for some reason they should be considered "confidential, in which case a page should be included saying the attachment is "proprietary or confidential", difficult to prove for someone with no competitors, in the San Jose/Santa Clara market.
I also notice that the SJWC ADV 491 email had the following warning:

Important Notice: This email may contain confidential or proprietary information belonging to SJW Corp. or one of its subsidiaries. If you are not the intended recipient, the sender requests that you immediately inform him or her that you have received it and that you immediately destroy the email. Please note that the use of confidential or proprietary information when you are not the intended recipient may have legal effects. Nothing in the body of this email is intended to be an electronic signature or is intended to create a binding contract.

This may be appropriate in some business situations, but not in an ADV filing with CPUC which should be considered to be a public document. SJWC may with the prior approval redact sensitive data, if they can present adequate justification to the assigned ALJ. In all cases proprietary or confidential, should be clearly identified.

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