Golden State Water suing Claremont officials over valid claim about water rates: Guest commentary

So, GSW authors and delivers an MOU and publicly asks why Claremont won't come to the table to work on a joint solution?? While at the same time, GSW files multiple lawsuits against the city.  Seems like that GSW Olive Branch has a lot of thorns on it!!

By Freeman Allen

In five years, 2008-2013, Golden State Water Co. doubled the cost of water for a near-average Claremont household — and now it is suing the city for saying so.

Using figures from my water bills, the cost of 24 units jumped from $48.24 to $97.48 with “adjustments” like WRAM added on, slightly more than double. But it’s worse than that. In 2008 water cost $2.01 per unit; in 2013 everything over 21 units was in Tier 3 at $4.78 per unit, quite a bit over twice as expensive.

In the summer, when much more water is used outdoors, and it’s Tier 3 water, costs were well more than double. That generated lots of profit for Golden State Water, but Claremont customers were outraged — you’ve probably seen those “Claremont Outrage” yard signs around town. It got so bad the City Council voted unanimously to look into getting out from under the GSW monopoly by buying out the Claremont water system.

Now the water company is doing everything it can to harass the city and scare Claremonters with false ads, misleading phone surveys and lawsuits over trumped-up issues. The latest suit is about doubled water rates. GSW doesn’t want the city to say rates have doubled, so it is suing over that. The company insists the meter charge must be included in the calculation. Well, when I think of my water rate it’s about the cost of the water I use, not the monthly charge for the meter.

I can see that different folks might think differently about what “rate” means, but to sue over that! And why? It will just make people more aware of the facts. GSW should be ashamed — and embarrassed.

I can’t help wonder what GSW management is thinking. Are they so out of touch as to believe Claremonters will be docile, frightened by false ads about new taxes, and go along with anything they choose to do to us because they will sue if we don’t? Do they want this kind of publicity? Don’t they realize their overzealous focus on profits, all that disinformation, all those lawsuits are what is driving the community to rise up and call for water independence?


Freeman Allen is a member of the Claremont FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) Working Committee.



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