Claremont water rates doubled in five years

Dear Editor: In five years, from 2008 to 2013, Golden State Water Company doubled the cost of water for a near-average Claremont household—and now they are suing the city for saying so.

Using figures from my own 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 more than twice as expensive. In the summer, when much more water is used out- doors, and it’s Tier 3 water, costs were well over double.

The tiered billing system generated lots of profit for Golden State Water, and Claremont customers were outraged—you’ve probably seen those “Claremont Outrage” yard signs around town. It got so bad the Claremont 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 they can to harass the city and scare Claremonters with false ads, misleading phone surveys and lawsuits over trumped-up issues. The latest lawsuit is about doubled water rates. GSW doesn’t want the city to say rates have doubled, so they are suing over that. They insist 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 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 but 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?

And doesn’t Golden State realize that their overzealous focus on profits, all that disinformation and all those lawsuits are what is driving the community to rise up and call for water independence?