Online Petition regarding SJWC proposed Drought Allocations

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The next step in ensuring justice for San Jose Water Company customers is to submit a brand new online petition. The following petition will be submitted directly to all individual Commissioners of the California Public Utilities Commission. The wording included in the petition is listed below the petition. In summary, you request that:

1. the Commission review their Division of Water and Audit’s (DWA) disposition of San Jose Water Company’s (SJWC) “surcharge” penalty request, and

2. the Commission overturn that disposition because the surcharges are unjust, unreasonable, and discriminatory.


1. Required: Your First and Last Name

2. Required: Your Email Address

3. Required: Your Street Address

4. Required: Your City

5. Optional: Please list any personal comments you'd like included as the 2nd paragraph of the email. Please note that the San Jose Water Company is not the same as the Santa Clara Valley Water District. This petition is related to the San Jose Water Company's Drought Allocations and "surcharge" penalties.



Dear California Public Utilities Commission,

Under this exceptional circumstance, I respectfully request Commission review of the Division of Water and Audit’s (DWA) disposition of San Jose Water Company’s (SJWC) Advice Letter 473, and that the Commission overturn that disposition. SJWC Advice Letter 473 provides “relief” via Schedule 14.1 that is unjust, unreasonable, and discriminatory.

DWA issued a disposition letter on 6/17/15 that was also dated 6/17/15. Prior to the disposition, more than 1,000 people sent the CPUC protest letters and/or emails noting the rules were unfair. The majority of these protests had to be submitted over one three day weekend because that was the short window of time between SJWC’s public outreach meeting and the deadline to submit protests. This short window of time created an exceptional circumstance where many SJWC customers were unable to submit protests. Regardless, the protests were apparently ignored by DWA in favor of giving SJWC “wide latitude crafting their own rules” regardless of whether those rules are unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory.

I ask that you overturn DWA’s disposition of the Advice Letter because it violates state law by imposing penalties on homeowners but not businesses or apartment owners. According to the Mercury News, DWA decided to allow “the private water companies it regulates wide latitude crafting the rules”. Too much latitude and insufficient review, since the approved drought rules appear to discriminate in several areas. Homeowners and house renters with a water meter, 60% of users, are being held responsible for almost the entire burden of the mandatory drought rationing. SJWC decided to exclude 40% of water users: apartments, commercial customers and industrial customers. This is discrimination that unfairly places the costs on a unique class of users. SJWC needs to put a fair, proportional and reasonable portion of the burden on their commercial and industrial customers. All customers should be treated in a fair and equitable way.

I ask that you overturn the DWA’s disposition of the Advice Letter because it was erroneously approved with unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory surcharges. SJWC set a 30% water use reduction based upon a “2013 Average Monthly Residential Usage” to determine the Monthly Drought Allocation. This approach to setting Drought Allocations is unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory. This discriminates against a majority of users in two ways. Metered water users are again bearing the burden for the reduction, as previously noted. A majority of users either have been reducing water use since the drought started and are now asked to reduce further, based on an average which does not take into account their prior efforts and in a discriminatory fashion assigns them an arbitrary monthly water ration. Other private water companies, such as Great Oaks Water Company (GOAC), have used a much more just and reasonable approach. GOWC has proposed Drought Allocations for all customer classes based upon each individual customer’s 2013 water usage. I ask that the CPUC advise SJWC that it should propose a strategy similar to other water companies throughout the state.





  • Lucille B Chacon Chacon

    Don’t charge us for overrages!

  • We cannot have compliance unless the water allocations are fair and that means the reductions should be based upon individual household past useage of water as we All have different households, lot sizes, landscaping needs, household sizes and needs, and allocations cannot be just some average of all households. Water rates are already excessive for most of us and tiers are ridiculous already. If you want compliance and fairness, the allocations should be based on a reduction from past useage as a proper measure. Surcharges and penalties will only cause resentment and avoidable non-compliance and methods to circumvent the system so penalties should not happen at all except where it can be seen consistent offenders after several warnings.

  • Margaret MacKay

    70% of each day nduvidual household”s 2013 water usage is the only fair way to do this.

  • Terry Betts

    NO! My household’s 2013 water usage averaged 41 gal per person per day….well under San Jose’s combined average usage. I have very low maintenance yards, already use all lo-flow tricks, and now you want to penalize ME for your higher water usage?!

    • Jay Ward

      SJWC can avoid penalizing efficient consumers and still meet their mandate from the Governor (which is a 25% reduction). It doesn’t take anything more complicated than high school algebra and a little creativity.

  • Martin J. Estrada

    This is the kind of thing that gets implemented and never retracted. This will be their attempt at resolving the state’s water shortage without having to build one more reservoir. They’ll pat themselves on the back too.

  • Michael Mace

    Los Angeles adjusts the water allocation to each home’s number of residents, yard size, and local temperature. I don’t understand why San Jose can’t do the same. SJ Water’s one-size-fits-all approach is designed for their convenience, not our needs.

    • Polina Spivak

      Bravo Michael for once again being the voice of reason! It’s not fair to penalize larger households, or households that have already made changes to conserve less water.

  • Mitzi McGilvray

    We are already conserving. Basing this on 2 years ago is not enough. Base this on pre drought use.

  • Carla Dickerson

    Great point to make about pre drought use.

  • Richard Boyce

    Stop this money grab that seeks to; again enrich the stockholders at the expense of the ratepayers.

  • Mike Beggs

    I support using restriction incentives for all businesses, apartment complexes, golf courses, government buildings, etc. along with residences. Everyone needs to feel the pressure to cut back on water use, not just home owners.

  • Karen

    What really needs to be done is to build a desalination plant. Drought is no secret. it’s been here during the time if the Indians–forever. Residences only use 10 percent of the water. The farmers use most of it. They plan is to build five reservoirs which will provide one percent of what we need. The desalination plant in San Diego cost one billion and it pumps somehing like 30 or 40 million gallons a day. A billion isn’t a lot when you consider how much how much we’re spending on the San Jose Bart and the Bullet Train. Yes, transportation is important, but those modes of transportation can come later as we’ve gotten along without them so far, but we can’t get along without water. It’s a priority.

    Another thought taking hold is to purify sewage. I think many of you saw the mayor drinking it on the news. Well, I don’t want to drink water that came out of thousands of people’s bodies–filled with diseases, medicines, drugs, radiation, chemicals, etc. Several times water companies have said that there is a little too much of this organism or that, but it’s within the safe limits.. One accident of the sewage water could wipe out a whole county. I think desalination ,which has barely been discussed in comparison to what I just mentioned, is the best way to supplement ground water and reservoirs.

    California taxes are so high in comparison to other states. Some states don’t even have state tax. We are taxed out to the max. All they can think of is to pay their CEO $650,000 and just charge or tax the people more. We’ve lost jobs because businesses couldn’t afford it here. People are moving. It reminds me of the dark ages when the peasants said they couldn’t
    pay any more taxes and still eat. The queen was sarcastic and said to eat grass. We vote for people who don’t look out for us or care about our financials. They’ll charge us more in a crisis, and when the crisis is gone, they never reverse those charges.