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Outrageous Water Bills?! Let CPUC know that SJWC's unfair billing practices need to STOP!

This petition had 9,534 supporters

WRATES - Water Rate Advocates for Transparency, Equity and Sustainability is creating awareness to bring about change to California's broken government entity, the CPUC, and the profiteering, monopolistic, investor owned, San Jose Water Group and the unchallenged SCVWD. ​For up-to-date information visit: To receive WRATES updates regarding SJWC, CPUC and SCVWD, submit your information to:

In 2012, SJW requested a 44% increase over 2013, 2014 & 2015 from CPUC. This was not approved but, today, with CPUC’s approval of the MANY additional surcharges and rate increases, SJW is now charging 71% more than in 2013 if you are under your allocation. The increase goes up even more drastically if you go over your allocation. ie: 25ccf/mo.=128%,  30ccf/mo.=155%, 50ccf/mo.=208%, 75ccf/mo.=237%. These rates are truly outrageous!   (Based on a comparison of 2013 & 2016 Jul/Aug bills. 71% is based on "typical" customer using 15ccf/mo.)

All of California is in this drought together but San Jose Water Company is way out of line with their rates, allocations, surcharges and "true-up" surcharges. Other water companies in the Bay Area are charging their customers much, much less. Neighboring, Great Oaks Water, which services parts of San Jose, is charging their customers 87% LESS than SJW. They also get their water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), just like SJW, and they are also a for profit, investor-owner, company regulated by the CPUC.

Why has the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved these extreme rate hikes and surcharges to SJW? This needs to be repealed and SJW should be required to reimburse its customers. 

The CPUC and SJW need to address the following issues and make change.

1 – We are paying the price. SJW is making huge profits because of rate and surcharge increases that SJW requested and CPUC approved. SJW is a for profit company and publicly traded on the NY stock exchange. Their 3rd quarter 2016 revenue was $112.3 million, a 35.4% increase over 3rd quarter 2015. SJWCorp. stock has risen over 73% since January 2016.

Richard Roth, SJW CEO, recently stated, "...[SJW] provides superior service levels and delivers reliable water supplies at a reasonable price." and “the company’s cash flow remains robust…” This is happening on the backs of its customers. SJW is exploiting the drought in California for huge financial gain. Surely, the CPUC can repeal their rate and surcharge decisions.

 2 – Our Rates are Not Reasonable. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is responsible for ensuring that California’s investor-owned water utilities deliver clean, safe, and reliable water to their customers at reasonable rates

We are using considerably less water and our bills are 71% higher than our 2013 bills. Some customers are receiving bills over $2000. These rates are not reasonable.

 3 – Unfair Water Allocations. SJW has allocated the same amount of water for all its customers during drought conditions, excluding apartments, commercial/industrial customers. Water allocations should be based on number in household and lot size. Two people living in a condo are not going to require as much water as a family of 4 living in a single family home on a 10,000 square foot lot. 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/industrial customers. This is discrimination that unfairly places the costs on a unique class of users.

 If we do not use our water allocation for a given month, we do not get to “bank” the extra and save it for a non-rainy day.

4 – SJW Needs to be Transparent. SJW bills are so confusing and difficult to decipher that even their customer service department is unable to explain the math for all the different surcharges.

We were informed that there would be an 8.6% increase but the tier rates reflects a 26% increase. John Tang with SJW stated that this is because they added an additional $0.64 per ccf in surcharges and then added the 8.6% increase to the January rate of $3.21. This brings our new tier rates to $4.05, $4.50 & $4.95. Additional Drought Surcharge rates are DS1-$3.56 & DS2-$7.13 per ccf. This math still does not add up to an 8.6% increase.

SJW also decreased our water allotments per tier. Previously, tier1 was for 0-13 ccf per month and now, tier1 is 0-3 ccf per month, tier2 is 3-18 ccf and tier3 is 18+. The tier rates will not decrease and tier allotments will not  increase when the drought is over.

 5 – SJW Water Data Collection is Imprecise yet our bills are precise to .00001 ccf. SJW currently does not know how much water its customers use during a given month. Their 2 month billing cycles have loose start and end dates yet our water allocations are on a monthly basis.

6 – SJW Employees receive their water Free of Charge and are not subject to Drought Allocation Surcharges. This puts them out of touch with their customers.

In addition to signing this petition, it is very important that EACH and EVERY one of us file a complaint with the CPUC! The more complaints they get, the more we will be heard.


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