San Jose Water Files General Rate Case Application Focused On Infrastructure Replacement and Water Quality-Related Projects

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As a water utility, San Jose Water is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission. Every three years we are required by law to submit a General Rate Case (GRC) application outlining our anticipated costs, planned system improvements, and projected water rates. If approved, the GRC would be in effect for the years 2019-2021. We know you have questions and we want to help answer them as best we can below. However, the rates outlined below are subject to change as part of the CPUC review process.

The year-long review process is intended to provide the public with the opportunity to submit feedback on the application. Once the public hearing date is set by the CPUC, we will provide you with information about how you can participate. You are also represented by the Office of Ratepayers Advocates (ORA), which reviews all proposed changes and submits information and guidance on behalf all utility customers.

If you'd like to read the press release that accompanied the filing, please find it HERE.

GRC Application Process Overview

SJW is regulated by the CPUC and serves more than 225,000 customers in the San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga communities. 

Today the typical residential customer in our service area pays about $100 per month for an average usage of about 11 units of water per month. If the rates included in the application are approved, the average bill would increase by $5.40 per month in 2019, $4.00 per month in 2020 and $4.42 per month in 2021. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is SJW Requesting an Increase in Water Rates?

In this application, SJW is proposing investments totaling approximately $400 million over the three year period to address water supply, storage, and distribution needs for our service area. These capital improvements include:

  • Replacing approximately 72 miles of water mains to maintain reliable service
  • Upgrading important tank and water storage facilities to mee the latest seismic, safety, and water quality requirements
  • Replacing and upgrading pump stations and pressure systems to ensure water reliability

How Are We Investing to Benefit You?

SJW invests to protect the safety and reliability of the local water system. We employ proactive maintenance programs and update our 2,400 miles of pipes on a rolling 100-year schedule. By comparison, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently published a report on the country's water infrastructure indicating that the national average for replacement was every 200 years on pipes that are designed to last between 75 and 100 years in service.

Why Do Rates Go Up, Even When I am Using Less?

Expenses: Approximately 70% of the costs to operate, maintain and improve the water system stay the same no matter how much, or how little, water a customer uses. Most of our costs are in the labor to operate and maintain the system and the fixed infrastructure (like pipes, tanks, wells, and pumps) that are needed to continuously support the system.

Revenue: Approximately 70% of the revenue collected from water bills comes from the actual water units sold. So when a customer uses less, we aren't making enough to cover the fixed costs so the rates may have to go up to cover the fixed costs, which are also rising as additional capital improvements are required to maintain the system into the future.

2018 General Rate Case Application Summary and FAQ

2018 General Rate Case Application Filing