Critics asperse San Jose Water Co. rates

November 12, 2016 - storage organizer

Uday Nagendran is a warm though devoted male who can't be fobbed off easily.  As a wireless executive, he’s used to slicing by a confusion and traffic with a bottom line.

So when he got a $500 check from a San Jose Water Co. for use to his Los Gatos home in a two-month duration finale Sept. 30, he was dynamic to speak it over with someone during a company.

By vouchsafing his grass go brownish-red and regulating season irrigation, he used half as most H2O this year as he did in a same duration in 2013. He says he wound adult profitable about twice as much.

After watchful 35 mins on a phone, Nagendran finally reached a splendid and efficient lady who told him he contingency have a leak. “Her one goal was to close me down,’’ Nagendran recalled.

Eventually, a association sent out an examiner who dynamic that there was no trickle during Nagendran’s place. Now a wireless executive has assimilated a stay of people who are publicly doubt their San Jose Water Co. bills.

A new petition on, entitled “Our vast H2O bills’’ had collected some-more than 4,700 signatures. It’s a product of a grass-roots transformation led by a organisation of residents who have dug into a counter-intuitive math of their H2O bills.

San Jose Water Co. disputes their numbers and says that a aloft bills have come in vast partial from rate increases and drought surcharges authorized by a California Public Utilities Commission. (You can review some-more on the company’s position online).

“The bottom line is that a rates are unequivocally set by a California Public Utilities Commission,’’ says John Tang, a vice-president of a San Jose Water Co.

Tang points out that a biggest apportionment of a H2O company’s costs are bound — essentially, a pipes and storage facilities. When business use reduction water, San Jose Water has to assign some-more per cubic feet to accommodate expenses. That’s a counter-intuitive part.

Because some of a biggest bills have arrived in Saratoga, where a vast lots and landscaped gardens direct some-more water, a beginning signs of a rebel have unfolded during Saratoga City Hall.

The organizer behind a petition is a Saratoga mom of two, Rita Benton, who beheld that her check for Jul and Aug strike roughly $400, some-more than $100 above her check for a same duration final year.

“First of all we feel guilty, we think, gee, I’ve over-watered, I’m not doing my part, we don’t wish to tell anybody that we got a $400 bill. Then we demeanour out there and see that everybody is removing this,’’ she told me.

Among a people strike with unusual bills was Monte Sereno Mayor Lon Allan, who says he got a $2400 check for Jul and August. Compared to 2012, his check had left adult 150 percent though his use had declined by 30 percent. “We were not overwatering,’’ Allan told me.

At a assembly of a Saratoga City Council final month, City Attorney Richard S. Taylor summarized what some people have called “a ideal storm’’ behind a rising H2O bills. (You can see his wholesome reason by examination video of a Oct. 19 meeting).

First, a San Jose Water Co. perceived an 8.6 percent boost from a CPUC, effective in mid-June. Because a boost was meant to take outcome during a initial of a year, there was an additional volume tacked on to bills — estimated during 3 percent for a customary patron — to make adult for a initial 6 months of 2016.

Then there were a drought surcharges, that boost neatly with a volume of H2O used above a customary allocation. Finally, increasing charges from a Santa Clara Valley Water district,  the retailer of water, combined another 6.8 percent to a bill.

One lady who has compared bills from 2013 and 2016, Ginny Hoerger, says that a genuine charges — comparing apples with apples — have left adult 71 percent over those 3 years after a drought surcharges are subtracted.

Tang questions that number, observant that a Saratogans are saying a biggest impacts since they continue to use H2O over a allocations set for all customers. And other defenders of San Jose Water disagree that a association faces rising bills to correct a 150-year-old infrastructure.

The critics are not appeased. Wireless executive Nagendran, among others, energetically questions Tang’s conclusion. “Fundamental to this is a matter of equity,’’ says Nagendran, who points out that other H2O companies have not bumped rates as much. ’

This most seems clear: San Jose Water Co., whose primogenitor association is traded on a New York Stock Exchange, (ticker: SJW) has finished good in these formidable times of drought. The batch is adult by some-more than 64 percent this year. The SP Global Water index, that includes both publicly traded H2O utilities and suppliers, is adult 5.4 percent.

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