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Rishi Rejects San Jose Water Rate Increases

Is Rishi Aquaman? Here is India Post News Service's article about Silicon Valley's Water Hero.

Here is Rishi’s Water Infrastructure plan.

Here is Rishi’s op-ed piece on San Jose Water Company’s surcharge.

PG&E needs to be fair - click here and take action.

Here is Rishi’s op-ed piece on Measure A and why four board members of Valley Water should resign.

Rishi’s success pushing back

Rishi Kumar was very concerned to find San Jose Water Company’s (SJWC) profit balloon in a drought year, from a baseline of $22M to $52M - see the table below - based on surcharges, while citizens conserved water. The water bills had skyrocketed. Later, Rishi’s frustration grew when San Jose Water filed for another surcharge due to “undercollection” as their customers had conserved water in a drought. Many such citizen complaints turned Rishi into a water activist. So far, Rishi has led efforts to either reject, reduce or suspend 9 San Jose Water rate increase proposals.

Rishi Kumar has challenged a profitable-powerful San Jose Water Company with their many water rate increase proposals. He is the only elected leader from 6 Silicon Valley cities leading charge since 2016; so far, 9 water rates have been pushed back successfully for a million residents.

Rishi’s engagement with SJWC’s water rate hike issue began in August 2016 with hosting a community meeting between citizens, San Jose Water Company and Santa Clara Valley Water District, when a spike in water bill was first observed. Rishi’s modus operandi to push back SJWC’s rate increases was soon established; file protests directed at the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) - the decision making authority - for every rate increase proposal that was presented. A water information page (www.RishiKumar.com/water) was established for this explicit purpose. A simple protest framework had been established - a winning formula - that was replicated again and again, A mobile app was rolled out in the Apple and Android platform to make protests easier, sending thousands of protest letters to CPUC and Office of Rate Payers Advocate (ORA). Here is the story so far.

  • CPUC’s W5228 Resolution denied in part AL 548-W
  • CPUC rejected AL 534
  • CPUC rejected AL 532
  • CPUC issued an Order Instituting Investigation (OII) of the merger of SJWC with Connecticut Water. July 2018
  • A.17.04-001 ROE filing SJWC was approved at 8.3% instead of the 10.8% ROE requested by San Jose Water Company
  • CPUC investigates San Jose Water's billing practices (9/2018). Thanks to W Rates for leading charge in this effort
  • AL 512 ($11.47M recovery) was withdrawn by SJWC - no reason stated. This had been earlier suspended by CPUC
  • AL 510 was rejected
  • AL 501 (3.65%) was rejected by CPUC.
  • The drought mandate was effectively removed by the Santa Clara Valley Water district board (January 2017). San Jose Water had to remove the drought surcharges soon after.

How can we send our protests to CPUC?

With the growing population of Silicon Valley, availability of water has become a source of concern. Communities of Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Campbell and San Jose are experiencing significant angst due to the increasing water bills first created during the drought years (2013-2016) with surcharges (penalties) in place. Below are the mechanics of the push back against San Jose Water Company's rate increases that Rishi has led, collaborating with some of the other elected leaders. For the news coverage, click here.

Join the Water Oversight Committee

  • #1 Join the Water Oversight Committee. We need your help.
  • #2 Subscribe to the Water Oversight Committee emails and stay connected with the latest.
  • Send Your Protest Emails to CPUC:
    • Option A: Download the app

      Send your Protest Emails in less than a minute. Push a button and protest.

      • Apple iOS Phones

        1. Go to App Store and Search for Silicon Valley Water
        2. Download and Open
        3. Fill the form with your info and hit “Click to send email"
        4. Review the email and send. The email is delivered to CPUC
    • Option B: Follow the Google Doc. Copy, Paste and send your email

      Send your Protest Emails in 2 minutes

      1. CLICK ---> here <--and copy the contents
      2. Paste contents into your email, edit as needed

        NOTE: Please include specific information related to your bill in your letter. If you have problems with the email addresses, replace comma (at the end of the email address above) with a semicolon

Did You Receive an Unsolicited Mail Regarding Insurance Mailers By San Jose Water?

Email CPUC. Google Docs link is here.

Have you signed the petition?

Replace San Jose Water with a municipal utility company http://tinyurl.com/noMoreSJWC.

San Jose Water Profit Tracker Dashboard

  • SJWC INCOME INCREASE: FROM $17M in 2010 to $59.2M in 2017, i.e a whopping 248% increase in profits since 2010
  • Revenue increase (2010 to 2017): 91% INCREASE
  • Income (before Tax) increase (2010 to 2017): 220% INCREASE

An Overview of San Jose Water's Profit and Revenue

Op. Revenue
Income (before Tax)
Net Income (after Tax)
Income %Y2Y
Revenue increase (2010 to 2017): 91% INCREASE
Income (before Tax) increase (2010 to 2017): 220% INCREASE
Income increase (2010 to 2017): 248% INCREASE
*San Jose Water Company ("SJWC"), was originally incorporated under the laws of the State of California in 1866. As part of a reorganization of February 8, 1985, SJWC became a wholly owned subsidiary of SJW Group.
SJWC is a public utility in the business of providing water service to approximately 231,000 connections that serve a population of approximately one million people in an area comprising approximately 139 square miles in the metropolitan San Jose, California area.