Water Rates: The California Public Utilities Commission

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is a state agency created by Constitutional amendment that regulates privately owned telecommunications, electric, natural gas, water, railroad, rail transit, passenger transportation companies, in addition to authorizing video franchises.

The CPUC’s five Governor-appointed Commissioners are responsible to ensure that California utility customers have safe, reliable utility service at reasonable rates, protecting utility customers from fraud, and promoting the health of California’s economy.

The CPUC plays a key role in making California a national and international leader on a number of clean energy related initiatives and policies designed to benefit consumers, the environment, and the economy. The CPUC headquarters are in San Francisco with field offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego.

Rate Case Process

The Public Utility Act of 1912 mandated that private utility companies such as Liberty Utilities be regulated.  As a result, we are required to review our rates and file a General Rate Case every three years, we must submit a General Rate Case (GRC) application to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Performed every three years, the GRC is the major regulatory proceeding which provides the CPUC an opportunity to perform an exhaustive examination of Liberty Utilities operations and costs.  The CPUC takes a broad, in-depth look at our revenues, expenses and financial outlook and considers the quality of service and other factors to arrive at just and reasonable rates.

Water Rate Information

Our customers pay a service charge, a fee for being connected to the system, which stays the same no matter how much water you use.  This fee pays for a part of our fixed costs such as pipelines and wells.  You also pay a quantity charge for each 100 cubic foot (1ccf) of water you use.  1ccf is 748 gallons.  This charge covers our remaining fixed costs and variable costs such as gas, electricity and disinfection chemicals.

Did you know? 

Residential water bills are mailed every other month, covering 2 months of service.

More (PDF) on Water Rate Information

Rates and Tariff

Liberty Utilities is an investor-owned public water utility regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The following Rates and Tariff Schedules and rules have been filed with and approved by the CPUC and governs our operation.

Full Cost Pricing of Utility Services

No doubt some water utilities are waiting for the dawn of a new era of federal public works programs with outright grants to provide for the upkeep of their pipes, pumps and treatment facilities. The federal treasury is a far-off solution, one that raises many issues of efficiency and equity on a national scale, pitting the older systems of the Northeast and upper Midwest against the newer systems of the Sunbelt and West.

A case can be made that rate payers are not anywhere near paying for the full cost of our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Liberty Utilities revenue requirements, the amount of money needed for us to operate and maintain facilities, cover capital expenses, and provide an opportunity to earn a return on our investments are evaluated. Rates to collect that revenue are set by the CPUC. Liberty Utilities rates reflect the true cost of water and are not subsidized by property taxes or other outside funding.

Fire Protection

Did You Know?

  • The original reason for building community water systems wasn’t to deliver safe drinking water – it was to fight fires!  A well-maintained water system is critical in protecting our communities from the ever-present threat of fire.
  • In most communities, water flowing to fire hydrants and home faucets is transported by the same system of water mains, pumps and storage tanks.
  • A water system that provides reliable water at a high pressure and volume can be the difference between a manageable fire and an urban inferno.
  • The ability to provide water for fire protection heavily influences:
    • new home construction
    • business location decisions
    • insurance rates
  • Firefighters are the primary operators of fire hydrants, but your water utility is usually responsible for maintaining the hydrants. That maintenance is supported through our water bills.
  • In 2004 alone, U.S. fire departments responded to 1.55 million fires across the country.

American Water Works Association: The Authoritative Resource on Safe Water

Public Health

Did You Know?

Every year, water utilities provide customers with a detailed report on the quality of their drinking water. Liberty Utilities Consumer Confidence Report can be found from the home page.
UN focuses on safe water in ‘Water for Life’ decade

  • Underscoring the public health value of a safe water supply, the United Nations has dubbed 2005-2015 the ‘Water for Life Decade.’
  • The UN seeks to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by the year 2015.
  • “Water and Sanitation is one of the primary drivers of public health. I often refer to it as ‘Health 101′”
  • Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director – General, World Health Organization
  • In a world where an estimated 3 million people die every year from preventable waterborne disease, water systems in North America allow us to drink from virtually any public tap with a high assurance of safety.
  • A safe water supply is critical to protecting the public health – the first obligation of all water suppliers. Without our modern water systems, diseases such as cholera and dysentery would be part of everyday life.
  • In the United States, water utilities monitor for more than 100 contaminants and must meet close to 90 regulations for water safety and quality. Those water standards are among the world’s most stringent.
  • California requires utilities to meet additional standards.
  • Community water supplies are tested routinely. Tap water undergoes far more frequent testing than bottled water.

Links to Consumer Sites

Check out these relevant water related consumer websites

The American Water Works Association Consumer Website
The Environmental Protection Agency
California Department of Public Health-Water
Department of Water Resources
The California Public Utilities Commission

Read more by PDF on CPUC