"Get all of the facts prior to deciding on the PUD Water Rate Structure protest"
The Foresthill Community Advisory Committee (CAC), comprised of five Foresthill residents, worked closely with the PUD board and consultants (HF&H) to determine a new water rate structure. The new structure should prevent future litigation due to the CAC’s belief that the present rate structure is non-compliant with current laws. Our main goal was to stop the lawsuits, eliminate the charges for non-existent meters, and eliminate the present water “allocation” of 10,000 gallons, which the CAC believes is illegal in California. These issues have been resolved with the new rate structure.
To date WE, the rate payers, have paid tens of thousands of dollars, most likely hundreds of thousands of dollars, in legal fees. The board does not pay the legal fees out of their pocket; WE, the rate payers, are paying the bill. Stopping the new rate structure from being implemented will keep the existing structure in place. We will still be liable for more lawsuits and will require additional consultant fees to work out a new rate structure, and then go through the whole process again. WE have already paid the consultants a fee of at least $50K and counting. How much more are we going to spend to determine a new rate structure, and how long will that take?
The CAC members evaluated the difference between what the members have paid in the past for our water and what our new cost will be, and found that our bills decrease with the new rates. That's not an increase in our bills, it is a decrease. It is easy to figure out how your bill will change. Run your numbers! It is dependent on how much water you use. If you are a resident and average more than 8,500 gallons a month, your bill will be higher than it is today. If you use less than 8,500 gallons per month, your bill will be lower.
The residential billing process is much easier with the new rate structure. You pay for the meter size you have (most residents will have a 5/8" meter costing $67.37/mo), and the water you use ($2.01 for each thousand of gallons of water used under 5,000 gallons, and $3.78 for each thousand of gallons used over 5,000). PUD mailed this information to the rate payers in late November. You can contact the PUD if you want help determining your new bill. The method of splitting the cost between two different rates is called a "tier" system, just like PG&E does on your electric bill. It penalizes the ones using more of the resource to support conservation. As with PG&E, if you use a lot, you will pay a lot!
The CAC does have some issues with the final results created by the consultants and provided to the PUD board, including using a multi-tier system, having different water costs for non-residential customers and the higher than expected revenue required ($2.88M/yr) for use in developing the rate structure. However, our main goal was to stop the lawsuits, and do the right thing for our community.
With this information in mind, if you want to protest the new rate structure being implemented, please contact the Foresthill PUD protest group on Facebook and their website @ http://fpudprotest.org/.