James Hunter

WRAM/MCBA, water rate war continues SJWC vs. DRA

Both San Jose Water Company and DRA (CPUC Dept. of Ratepayer Advocates) filed the following:
The first obvious difference is the size of the SJWC filing, I read all 162 pages and was surprised by some of the material, especially addressing WRAM/MCBA. Remember this was needed because of the shortfall in revenue from sales because the "SJWC conservation efforts were so successful that FIXED COSTS were not covered" creating the need to have a major increase in our water rates........................ Now has magically morphed into a somewhat different position see page 131 of SJWC Opening Brief:

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It now necessary to "eliminate the company's traditional incentive to promote water sales". It seems to me Mr. Jensen and his outside attorneys and SJWC are searching for a justification to get a guaranteed revenue stream from SJWC to SJC Corporation.

Their position on the justification to have a WRAM/MCBA HAS NOTHING TO DO with conservation, fixed costs etc., it's solely based on a guaranteed revenue stream to SJW Corporation.  SJW Corp. is publicly traded and whose shareholders, directors and officers benefit from having revenue of SJWC being de-coupled from other issues, like the performance of SJWC, efficient operation, employment cost control, the economy, capital costs controls.

Apparently my confusion over the changes in position and justification for WRAM were also noticed by DRA. The following is about as blunt as legal documents get, DRA Reply Brief, page 2:

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We basically paid for the 162 pages of the SJWC Opening Brief (Regulatory Expenses, including an outside legal firm, a Sr. VP ($625,000 annually) and numerous internal SJWC staff)  and I'm sure that after reading it we didn't get our monies worth. We are lucky paper volume will hopefully not win the water rate war.

I enjoyed the closing of DRA Reply Brief, page 7:

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So long as the corporate structure that shrouds the SJWC specific salaries, expenses and operations, under SJW Corporation, as a 100% wholly owned subsidiary we will never be able to achieve the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling. There are too many easy ways to move the revenues between the corporate entities which are protected by law, despite the fact that San Jose Water Company is a regulated utility and is essentially a monopoly.

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