San Jose Water Company Asks CPUC for Another Rate Increase

San Jose Water Company, the investor-owned utility that provides water for most of the South Bay, is angling for yet another rate hike. In a petition filed last week with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the company said it needs the price bump to cover upward of $400 million in infrastructure upgrades.

San Jose Water—which serves San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and unincorporated Santa Clara County—said the rate increase would add $12.84 a month over the coming few years for the typical customer.

That’s a 9.76 percent rate increase in 2019, 3.7 percent in 2020 and 5.17 percent in 2012, accounting for a total of $34 million in additional charges. The general rate case application (available online here) kicks off a yearlong review process, which allows time for legal review and public input.

In a press release sent out last week, San Jose Water CEO Eric Thornburg said the 150-year-old company needs the additional revenue to replace aging water mains, storage tanks and pump stations. Since 2005, he added, the utility has spent more than $1 billion in infrastructure upgrades.

The water company’s rate hike petition comes just as the CPUC approved a 4.22 percent rate increase, which went into effect at the start of 2018. WRATES, a citizen watchdog group, called the CPUC’s authorization a disappointment in light of the fact that San Jose Water admitted to overcharging customers by at least $1.8 million.

“The ratepayers have unsuccessfully tried for over a year to work within the parameters of the broken CPUC system,” WRATES member Rita Benton wrote to the CPUC earlier this month. “We, the ratepayers, are utterly dismayed with the lack of urgency and progress the CPUC has taken in the unsustainable water rates it has created in our communities by not properly regulating the utilities.”

10 Comments

  1. Totally effing ridiculous! I said it before and I’ll say it again, some folks here in the valley will drill their own backyard wells to circumvent SJW’s robbery. Our water table is plenty high and there’s no way SJW would ever know.

    • I just became aware of a fellow in West San Jose who recently drilled his own backyard well. I wish him the best in getting around San Jose Water’s extortion program!

  2. SAN JOSE Water is a joke. They are mismanaged to the point that we as citizens should begin to rebel. We have been in a drought for five years and nothing has been done for the dams in the area. You would think, using a little common sense, that the dams would have the preventive maintenance done during this time. Cheaper than waiting. Costs go up.
    Now I hear that we maybe in a drought 2018. Why is the San Jose Water letting all our water out from our reservoirs and sending the water to the Bay then to the ocean.

    AND now they are looking to increase the fees……….go figure….spend spend spend….

  3. So glad I moved out of the pillage zone for this company. Wish the rest of you the best. And yes I am now on a well far far away. Current water bill “zero”

    • I think San Jose Water Company definitely has a monopoly. Your comment that your water bill is “zero” is somewhat misleading. Increased electric bills to accommodate water pumps along with pump and associated equipment maintenance are not cheap. Perhaps you are lucky enough to not have to replace your pump or drill deeper to maintain service. Having to test our water to assure that no unknown health concerns are present in our water source is always an adventure. We also live with a well far, far away. I was somewhat amused by the person posting that someone was ignorant enough to drill a water well in West San Jose where the aquifers are contaminated with unknown chemicals. Best of luck!

  4. For comparison, what are monthly/annual water rates for other comparable communities and customers, including San Jose Water Company?

  5. Also, are they factoring in their tax savings from the recent tax bill? With their tax rate being lowered from 35% to 21% they should be able to use those savings to cover those costs.

  6. I just ant to remind everyone everyone that Andrew Gere(Water Co. CEO), Richard Roth (Board Chair), and Robert Day (PR Flunky) received the 2017 Golden Jackass awards for failing to meet the needs of customers.

  7. Time for a complete audit of this entity and a break up of it’s monopoly. There should be 2 or 3 competing companies to run this system efficanty.

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