Water Bill Inquiry

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Some customers have contacted us recently to inquire about an increase in their water bill. A combination of factors that occurred over a very short period of time contributed to this increase and included:

  • The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an 8.6% rate increase on June 14, 2016. This increase went into effect immediately.
  • Because the CPUC’s rate increase would ordinarily have taken effect on January 1, 2016 (there was a delay in the approval), the June 14 approval was retroactive to January 1, 2016. As a result, the CPUC authorized a surcharge, equivalent to a 3% increase for the average customer using 15 ccf, to cover the retroactive portion (January 1 through June 14, 2016). This retroactive surcharge will remain on the bills for approximately 12 months or until July 2017, after which it will be removed.
  • The Board of Directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District approved an increase of 19.9% on the water it sells to retailers, including San Jose Water Company (SJWC). This wholesale water rate increase, effective July 1, 2016, translates into a 6.8% increase for our customers.
  • Water usage typically increases in the summer months due to outdoor irrigation.
  • Although the conservation target has been reduced from 30% to 20%, SJWC is still operating under the drought contingency plan in which residential customers must remain at or below their monthly allocations in order to avoid drought surcharges


The combined rate increases total approximately 20%. If your usage has remained the same compared to the same billing period a year ago, then you can expect to see an increase of approximately 20%. If your water usage has increased, the increase will be reflected in the amount on your water bill.

SJWC offers a comprehensive water conservation program to help our customers use water more wisely. For more information, please click here. Comprehensive information about the drought, surcharge program, and other conservation resources is also available here.