Over the past year, the City has been involved in opposing rate hikes proposed by California American Water Company, affecting 47% of the City's residents (click for service area map).
There are three water utility providers in the City of Thousand Oaks: the City Water Division, California Water Service Company (CWS) , and California American Water Company (Cal-Am). Cal-Am is a private investor-owned utility company, regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The City must follow Proposition 218 in setting its water rates, where the amount charged cannot exceed the cost of water.
In July 2016, Cal-Am filed a 3-year water rate case with the CPUC and proposed to consolidate five separate water systems for rate purposes in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. The proposed consolidated rate increase for Cal-Am customers in the City is more than 10% per year for 3 years; without consolidation it is about 5% per year. Rate increases for 3 of the other 4 water systems to be consolidated range from 1% to 9% per year (see original application rate summary table). In comparison, the City proposes to raise its rates for the next two years 1% per year and CWS recently raised its rates 1% per year.
A public participation hearing was held by the CPUC in January 2017 with over 200 residents attending, all of which who spoke were opposed to Cal-Am’s proposal, including the City. The City petitioned for and was granted Party status on this case by the CPUC and submitted formal testimony to the CPUC opposing Cal-Am’s proposal. View the testimony.
In August 2017, Cal Am and the City of Coronado filed a settlement agreement with the CPUC that would raise rates for Thousand Oaks residents from 5% to 25% in 2018, depending on the amount of water used. See summary table for Coronado Settlement. The City of Thousand Oaks, County of Los Angeles, and Office of Rate Payers Advocate all oppose this settlement. View opposition comments: City of Thousand Oaks; County of Los Angeles; Office of Ratepayers Advocate.
- City residents are being unfairly burdened by higher rate increases than the other areas to be consolidate
- Water rates should be similar for the City of Thousand Oaks, California Water Service (CWS) and California American Water Company (Cal-Am) service areas in Thousand Oaks because:
- Purchase of imported water is the majority of Cal-Am’s water budget (same for the City and CWS); imported water costs are exactly the same for all 3 utilities
- Water infrastructure is similar and of same age for all 3 utilities, so operating, maintenance and capital costs should be proportionately similar