James Hunter

SJWC asks CPUC to take action, on the pending 44% water rate increase

On April 14, 2014 SJWC (San Jose Water Company) appeared before CPUC to request a decision on the  pending 44% Water Rate Increase. The complete document is available at the CPUC website:

"Shortly before 3:00 pm on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, Palle Jensen, Senior
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for SJWC, and Martin Mattes of Nossaman LLP, 
attorneys for SJWC, met with Ditas Katague, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Catherine 
Sandoval, in a conference room on the 4th floor of the Commission’s offices at 505 Van 
Ness Avenue, in San Francisco, California. The meeting lasted about 25 minutes. 

Mr. Jensen recounted the lengthy history of the above-captioned proceeding, observing that the first Test Year has already been completed. He briefly identified the principal disputed issues. He explained that, in the absence of a rate case decision, SJWC has had to put off hiring new employees and to defer disputed capital projects. Mr. Jensen noted specifically that SJWC has had to operate without an approved capital budget for the past three years. Mr. Mattes stressed the importance of having a decision in the present rate case in sufficient time for SJWC to take the results into account in planning for its next 

GRC, for which a proposed application is due November 1, 2014."

04:59 PM

Let's take a look some of the points being made Palle Jensen, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for SJWC and SJWC Attorney Martin Mattes, for which we the ratepayers probably will have to pay for:

  1. SJWC plans to file another GRC General Rate Case (Increase) for the next, "proposed application is due November 1, 2014". Based on the record this is an interesting request we could get hit with a retroactive increase, plus a new rate increase potentially? I'd really like to hear more about this and how the pending and planned filing affect our water rate increases?
  2. I believe that some capital projects were funded, pending the current water rate increase?
  3. Hiring added staff, is this considered adding to the "fixed costs", so will we get another increase as SJWC has said in the event we conserve water during this drought, to support the revenues and profits "effectively" SJW Corp. a publicly traded company.
  4. The following graph shows the past 5 years of the SJW Corp. (SJWC is a wholly owned (100%) subsidiary and, I believe, contributes over 95% of the revenue and profits of SJW Corp. During the 5 year period shown below SJW Corp.has increased it's share price and has paid increasing quarterly dividends! Which we the ratepayers are protecting (paying for in rate increases)!

Keep in mind that the has been out of the public eye and nothing has been announced by either CPUC and SJWC, for almost a year!

This was classed as an Ex Parte" hearing:

"Ex parte refers to a motion or petition by or for one party. An ex parte judicial proceeding is on where the opposing party has not received notice nor is present. This is an exception to the usual rule of court procedure and due process rights that both parties must be present at any argument before a judge. It is in contrast to the rule that an attorney may not notify a judge without previously notifying the opposition. Ex parte hearings, petitions, or motions are usually temporary orders, such as a restraining order or temporary custody, pending a formal hearing or an emergency request for a continuance. Most jurisdictions require at least a good faith effort to notify the opposing lawyer of the time and place of any ex parte hearing.
"Ex parte communication" is a direct or indirect communication on the substance of a pending case without the knowledge, presence, or consent of all parties involved in the matter. Generally, ex parte communication is prohibited in legal proceedings."
I wonder if we the ratepayers are the other party? or is DRA/ORA? The results were published after the fact to the standard list.

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