Cal Water Enters Settlement Agreement On Proposed Rate Increase For Oroville District

Agreement Decreases Bills in 2017, Keeps Total Increase Over Three Years to $1.80 For Typical Residential Customer

Cal Water, the California Public Utilities Commission’s (Commission) Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and other parties have reached a settlement agreement in the Commission’s triennial review of Cal Water’s rates, expenses, operations, and proposed water system improvements. Pursuant to the settlement, Cal Water would be allowed to complete more than $3.2 million improvements to the water system, while decreasing typical customers’ water bills in 2017.

Among improvements the company would make if the settlement is approved as filled, Cal Water would replace more than 4,600 feet of water main that are aging or at higher risk of failure in its Oroville service area. Additionally, the utility would replace electrical equipment and install a new generator at one of its pump stations, which would help ensure that water is not interrupted in a power outage. The Commission must still make a decision on the proposed settlement, which is expected in late 2016.

Under the terms of the settlement, typical residential customers who use 9,724 gallons of water per month would see a decrease in their water bill of about 14 cents in 2017, compared to September 2016, a reduction of about 0.22%. Monthly bills for typical customers would increase by about 25 cents in 2018 and $1.69 in 2019, amounting to a total three-year change of about 2.7%, compared to September 2016. Monthly bills for customers enrolled in Cal Water’s Low-Income Rate Assistance (LIRA) program would be lower, as enrolled customers receive a 50-percent discount off of the service charge portion of their bills.

“We are committed to providing our customers with a reliable supply of high-quality water that meets all federal and state standards,” said Oroville District Manager Toni Ruggle. “We have worked hard to operate efficiently and control our operating costs. Combined with more accurate forecasting of future water use, we are pleased that we will be able to make these improvements to keep our customers’ water system safe and reliable for decades to come while minimizing any rate impact.”

As part of the settlement, rates for Cal Water’s Oroville system would not be combined with the company’s other northern-area districts in Chico, Marysville, and Willows.

Every three years, the Commission, and independent state agency, reviews Cal Water’s rates, operations, expenses, and proposed water system improvements to ensure that rates paid by customers reflect the actual costs of providing safe, reliable water utility service. The current review of rates is part of Cal Water’s General Rate Case that was filed in July 2015. Commissioners will vote to adopt, deny, or amend the settlement in its decision.