SAN FRANCISCO--()--The California Water Association (CWA), which represents approximately 125 investor-owned public water utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), welcomed the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 1364, which codifies activities that many investor-owned water companies already undertake as a result of current CPUC requirements or on a voluntary basis.
Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 29, 2012, and effective Jan. 1, 2013, SB 1364, which applies to regulated water utilities with 2,000 or more service connections (covering more than 99 percent of all customers served by regulated utilities), amended the Public Utilities Code to codify existing CPUC regulatory requirements for transactions between water utilities and their affiliates.
More significantly for customers, though, SB 1364 requires water utilities to identify estimated rate impacts on various customer classes (residential, commercial, etc.) in their existing public notices about rate applications to the CPUC, and it authorizes the CPUC to require these utilities to inform customers about the outcome of general rate case (GRC) applications.
As a point of clarification, some published reports on the CPUC’s customer noticing procedures erroneously asserted that water utilities could notice proposed rate increases without disclosing the cost of some capital projects being considered by the utility. In fact, all proposed capital projects’ projected costs are included in proposed rate increases outlined in public notices to customers.
Through the revisions made by SB 1364, individual customers are provided a more comprehensive understanding of the GRC process and the true impact of water rate increases.
By requiring water utilities to inform customers about estimated rate impacts according to customer class, and by giving the CPUC authority to have these utilities inform their customers about the outcome of general rate cases, this new law adds a welcome degree of transparency and accountability to the ratemaking process. CWA welcomed the opportunity to work with Senator Huff throughout the legislative session on Senate Bill 1364 and is pleased with the outcome.
Investor-owned water companies are among the most regulated and scrutinized businesses in California. Our members understand the public trust provided to us when it comes to delivering reliable, high-quality drinking water at a reasonable cost.
About the California Water Association:
The California Water Association (CWA) represents the interests of approximately 125 investor-owned water utilities that are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, and that strive to provide high-quality water utility services to customers throughout California. CWA provides a forum for sharing best management practices; a means of promoting sound water policy by legislators and regulatory agencies; and opportunities for educating the public on the protection and efficient use of water resources.