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.
WORDING INCLUDED IN YOUR ONLINE PETITION:
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.