Rates, Conservation, and the Value of Water

This video talks talks about the process of establishing water rates, water conservation, and the value of tap water.

maruth kamath
over 2 years agoJune 3, 2017
How can you put a ridiculous 51$ service charge on a 20$ water usage?
John Tang
over 2 years agoJune 5, 2017
Maruth, thank you for your comment.  If you are referring to your bill, please contact our Customer Service Department at 408-279-7900 for additional information.  Please note that the bill covers two months of service.
Kristine Jordan
over 2 years agoJune 5, 2017
Maruth, please also find additional information on our website under: https://www.sjwater.com/for_your_home/home_customer_care/rates_regulations This weblink will provide you a video on how we get to our rates on the bills, regulations, general rate schedules under our Tariffs (The CPUC approves all of our rates) and https://www.sjwater.com/for_your_home/home_customer_care/billing/how_to_read_your_bill for a diagram on how to read your bill.  If you still have any questions, our customer service team would be more than happy to assist: customer.service@sjwater.com or 1-408-279-7900
Tina
over 2 years agoJune 6, 2017
How can we determine what size meter our household should be charged for? And what is the number of fixtures/hose bibs/faucets/etc for each size threshold?
John Tang
over 2 years agoJune 6, 2017
Tina, thanks for your question?  The various meter sizes and their associated charges can be found in Schedule 1 at https://www.sjwater.com/for_your_home/home_customer_care/rates_regulations/general_rate_schedules_for_billing.  With regards to your other question, please contact Nicole at 408-279-7862.  She will be happy to help you.
brandon bui
about 2 years agoSeptember 19, 2017
It is ridiculous. My service change is $85 and I live in a 2br condo without a lawn.
Jayme Ackemann
about 2 years agoSeptember 19, 2017
Brandon, we're sorry you feel that way.  We are happy to discuss your concerns further.  You can email customer.service@sjwater.com. The average bill is between $100 and $200 and because our bills come out bi-monthly that means that the average monthly charge is between $50 and $100.  It looks like you're paying about $42.50 each month for water.
Vanessa
almost 2 years agoDecember 14, 2017
Well thank you for letting me understand where the service charge is coming from.  $85 for $4 of water usage just doesn't sound right.  Maybe service charges should be better set up especially for those who have very little water usage.  Especially when I have no yard and live in a town home, by myself.
Jason
over 1 year agoAugust 21, 2018
Service charge is seriously ridiculous, we have to pay a huge maintenance fee for the government?
Jayme Ackemann
about 1 year agoSeptember 19, 2018
Actually, San Jose Water is a private company so we don't benefit from the property taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes you pay to the government.  The money our customers pay is all of the income available to us to invest in and maintain the system and water supply.  But service charges in utility industries are standard. Water company's have very high fixed costs before the customer uses a single drop of water.  All of the plants, pipes, pumps, tanks and reservoirs require the same amount of maintenance regardless of the amount of water each individual customer uses.  That is what the service charge goes to support.
Pablo
about 1 year agoSeptember 19, 2018
$85 service charge?!?!?! seems like robbery where there's only two of us on a one bedroom condo and are barely home.. Is there any way to reduce this charge???
Jayme Ackemann
about 1 year agoSeptember 19, 2018
Hi Pablo, A service charge of that type does seem high for a dwelling like the one you describe.  But without looking at your specific account, it's hard to determine exactly what's happening with your bill.  I would encourage you to contact Customer Service at 408-279-7900 for details.
Anonymous
12 months agoDecember 20, 2018
50$ for service!! It is robbery
Alex
10 months agoJanuary 31, 2019
$109 Service Charge for a 2 bedroom condo with no lawn or backyard. Is there a breakdown of where the charge comes from? Why not just charge $3000 or 2 million? Seems like you charge whatever you want and people will pay because its literally a life necessity. Shameful.
Sharon Whaley
10 months agoJanuary 31, 2019
Hi, Alex. Without looking at your specific bill, I'm not sure what the $109 service charge reflects. Calling our Customer Service Department at 408-279-7900 can provide you with personalized information about your account. 

Your bill has two primary components: monthly service charge and water quantity charge. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the typical residential customer with a 3/4" meter is charged $39.50 per month for the meter. The volume charge for water varies, depending on your water use. Zero to 3 CCF of water per month is $3.20 per CCF. Please note that your bill is for a two-month period.  Call Customer Service for a detailed explanation of your bill or go to our website at www.sjwater.com for rate information.
Mel
10 months agoFebruary 5, 2019
Why did the service charge increase from $85 to $106 in the latest bill? My meter size has surely not increased.
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoFebruary 25, 2019
Your meter size did not increase. But new rates went into affect on January 1, 2019. The new rate structure, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, reflects an increase in the monthly service charge to allow SJW to recover up to 40% of its revenue from this charge and reducing the revenue we collect from the volume charges for water use. While the monthly service charge did increase, the volume charge for water 0 to 3 CCF per month decreased from $4.25 to $3.20.  If you have any additional questions about the rate changes, please contact our Customer Service Department at 408-279-7900.
Alexander Tran
10 months agoFebruary 23, 2019
I have been living in San Jose for 15 years and I have been facing the charges which is called "Service Charge" of SJWC for 15 years.  Can I change to other water supply company in San Jose?  I understand SJWC needs to charge the maintenance fee to survive, but $70 has been charged on every single bill is not right at all.  I feel I have been robbed by SJWC in legal way, so I can't do anything.  My heart is bleeding every time I pay the SJWC bill, but again I can't do anything.  Please don't make money in that way because you will have to pay back in front of God when the world is ended.
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoFebruary 25, 2019
Any rate increase can be upsetting and I understand your concern about the service charge changes that went into effect January 1, 2019. The California Public Utilities Commission authorized a rate increase of 4.55% after a careful review of SJW's General Rate Case application. This decision allowed SJW to recover more of its revenue through the monthly service charge rather than the water quantity charge.  Your monthly service charge is based on the meter size at your home. Like other water utilities, SJW has high fixed costs and is focused on replacing and upgrading our infrastructure. One very important project is replacing approximately 24 miles of water mains each year to maintain reliable service. If you have questions about your bill, please call our Customer Service Department at 408-279-7900.
Joel C
9 months agoFebruary 27, 2019
The service charge on my bill increased by 45% from $84.2 to $122? We live in a 2 bed 2 bath condo w/o any yard and our CCF is 8.
This is ridiculously high. SJW is just exploiting the residents. Service charge should be based on the tier/usage instead of a fixed amount. In the month of Nov and Dec our CCF was 1 and yet the total bill was $98 largely due to $84.2 service charge.
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoFebruary 27, 2019
I understand your concern. SJW, like other utilities has high fixed costs and the California Public Utilities Commission has authorized this rate increase to allow us to recover more of our fixed costs in the service charge. This is in lieu of having more frequent adjustments to our water quantity costs when overall usage declines below the CPUC projections. For our lower users, the cost first 0 to 6 CCF of water went down from $4.25 to $3.20.  If you have specific questions about your bill, please contact our Customer Service Department at (408) 279-7900.
Wes Wan
9 months agoMarch 5, 2019
I just received my bi-monthly water bill from SJWC. The service charge on this bill increased 44% from $50.56 to $72.86 (meter size 3/4"). This is insane! Our water usage has remained 4 or 5 ccf each billing cycle, and the quantity charge is usually less than $20. I don't understand why am I paying triple the price for fixed service charge than my actual usage.
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoMarch 5, 2019
Wes, I appreciate your concern about the new billing structure. You are correct - the fixed service charge has gone up. The California Public Utilities Commission - the agency that reviews and approves our rates - authorized a rate increase effective January 1, 2019. In its decision, SJW is allowed to recover more of our fixed costs through the monthly service charge. By having a steadier source of revenue to cover our fixed and variable costs, it will help alleviate the more frequent rate changes that have occurred in the past few years. Please note that the cost of water for lower consumption levels has decreased.  The cost for the first 0 to 6 CCF of water for the two-month billing cycle went down from $4.25 to $3.20 per CCF. For a more detailed explanation of what this rate change means to you and your account, please contact our Customer Service Department at (408) 279-7900 or customer.service@sjwater.com.
Steven
9 months agoMarch 6, 2019
Absolutely horrendous what the utilities companies are doing.  My basic service fee also went up 50% due to the new pricing structure.  SJCC is basically penalizing people who use less water.  I can understand if there's a 3-5% increase per year.  But 50%??? year over year increase?? This is the problem when utility companies are privately owned and a for profit entity.
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoMarch 7, 2019
Steven, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the rate increase. The monthly service charge for our most common residential meter did go from $25.28 per month to $39.50 per month. And the cost for the first 6 CCF of water decreased from $4.25 to $3.20. Both of these changes were approved by the California Public Utilities Commission with the goal to help SJW recover more of our fixed costs through the monthly service charge. The goal is to reduce the frequency of rate changes that have occurred in the past few years. Here's a link to more information about the rate increase: https://www.sjwater.com/our-company/news-media/water-blogged/2019-rates-are-here-what-you-need-know. And for more specific information about your account, please contact our Customer Service Department at (408) 279-7900 or customer.service@sjwater.com.
Cary
9 months agoMarch 9, 2019
I just received my bill and the service charge went up by 53%!  I know there was a rate increase effective Jan 2019, but that is a significant jump.  Our CCF usage is between 8-12, so it is average for a small house w/o any lawn.  What can I do?  Thanks.
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoMarch 11, 2019
Hello, Cary. Thank you for inquiring about your bill. Yes, there was a rate increase on January 1, 2019 that affected both the monthly service charge for your meter as well as the quantity rate for water. For a 3/4" meter (our most common residential meter), the rate went up from $25.28 per month to $39.50. The rate for the first six units of water in a billing period decreased from $4.25 to $3.20. We have great conservation tips on our website at www.sjwater.com. Although you are a very conservative user, you can have a CATCH visit at your home. Our water efficiency experts can check your home inside and out for any potential areas for savings. https://www.sjwater.com/catch Just call our office at 408-279-7900 to set up your free appointment.
Anup
9 months agoMarch 14, 2019
I see service charge increasing from $25 to $39.50 as well in my bill. Previous bill and the website link above only speaks about increasing to $4.32 monthly for an average customer. As per the previous comment, most residential meters are 3/4" . So how can an increase of atleast $14.50 (against the service charge) be justified. I would like to see how was the increase of $4.32 computed when the median household is seeing an increase of $14.50.

Can the city do something to stop this unjustified increase ?
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoMarch 24, 2019
Anup, thank you for asking about our rates. Yes, there was an increase in the service charge effective January 1, 2019 for all our water meters.  Please note that the 3/4" meter charge did increase to $39.50. And the rate for the first 6 CCF of water on your bi-monthly bill decreased to $3.20 per CCF. Please note that several line items are no longer appearing on your bill - the 2016, 2017, and 2018 charges from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (now known as Valley Water) for both groundwater and potable water are now wrapped into the monthly service charge. Overall, the bill did not increase by the full $14.50 you mentioned.  These rates were approved by the California Public Utilities Commission before they went into effect.
Anonymous
9 months agoMarch 24, 2019
ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! This is why I regret moving from Santa Clara to San Jose. The home I live in right now is located on the actual 'border' between Santa Clara and SJ so my zip is considered SJ. This increase in Service Charge is insane. It costs as much as my water usage????? California is no longer in a drought (for the first time in 7 years), yet the fixed cost is increasing? California needs to find a way to preserve the water so we can maintain our water resources more efficiently, instead of charging all the customers a higher service charge to cover those costs. You state that the cost for first 6 units of water has decreased by $1.05? You do understand the 50% increase in the service charge off balances the whole price cut to begin with. Technically we are paying $6.30 less for water but we pay $15 to $25 more thru your service charge. How is this fair and equal to the consumer?????
Sharon Whaley
9 months agoMarch 24, 2019
As you noticed on your bill, the monthly service charge for a 3/4" meter did increase and the cost of the first 6 CCF of water on your bi-monthly bill did decrease. But please note that the overall bill did not increase by $15 to $25. There were several line items that appeared on bills prior to January 1, 2019. These surcharges were for 2016, 2017, and 2018 rate increases for groundwater and potable water by the Santa Clara Valley Water District (now known as Valley Water). These surcharges no longer appear on your bill so your overall bill did not increase by $15 to $25. The general rate increase helps SJW pay for infrastructure improvements like main replacement, tanks and reservoir improvements, and water treatment plant investments so that we can continue to serve high quality water to our 1,000,000 residents.
Crystal
8 months agoApril 4, 2019
We saw service charge increase from $81 to $131, while our usage is less than $10  as we are barely home and hardly use any water. How ridiculous is that?
Crystal
8 months agoApril 5, 2019
I called the SJW customer service yesterday, and was told my $131 service charge was based on the size of the water meter. Since we do not use much water (only about 2 CCF per billing cycle), I asked to downsize my water meter. And I was told no. !!!!   Which means SJW will continue to rob me with this outrageous service charge despite the fact we use very little water!!!
Sharon Whaley
8 months agoApril 5, 2019
Crystal, thanks for calling our Customer Service Department. Without your specific account information, I can only provide you general information. 

The monthly service charge for all our meters did increase as of January 1, 2019. It appears that you may have a 1 1/2" meter that costs $131.67 per month. Even though you only use 2 CCF of water per billing period, the meter was sized when the home was built. The size of the meter is based on several factors, including the number of water-using fixtures in the house, the presence of fire sprinklers, and plumbing codes at that time. Downsizing the meter to meet your current water use needs will not necessarily meet the needs of future residents or provide the necessary water pressure for your site.  

Another thing to note on your bill is that while the meter charge did increase, there were several line items on your bill for water charges from 2016 - 2018 from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) that are now included in the meter charge. So the line items no longer appear on your 2019 bill but are rolled into the meter charge.  If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service staff again at (408) 279-7900 or customer.service@sjwater.com.
Gary Fay
8 months agoApril 7, 2019
I just received my bill and also have an increase in the service charge from $84 to $131.  I just moved to San Jose from Los Angeles and paid half the price for the same amount of water there even though it is a desert and imports its water.  Also, the quality of the water in SJ is horrible.  There are mineral stains constantly, and the water always smells over chlorinated.
Sharon, we are not stupid.  You claim that a few line items from 2016-18 have been removed from the bill, but I also see new charges for a 2019 Balancing Act and 2019 Memorandum Account added to the bill which are much higher.  And the decrease in the charge for the first 6 CCF does not make up for the increase in the service charge especially because the cost for going over 6 CCF has also increased.

Please stop giving out the number to the useless SJW customer service.  They are not going to do anything for us.  What is the contact number in SJ or CA government for the agency responsible for approving these increases?
Sharon Whaley
8 months agoApril 7, 2019
Good afternoon, Gary. You've brought up several important issues. Yes, the service charge has increased and the six line items for the 2016-2018 Santa Clara Valley Water District charges have been removed from the bill. It is important to note that the charges for the District's are considered pass-thru costs - we do not profit from these charges but do collect them to pay to the District for groundwater and potable water purchases. Our Customer Service Department is happy to go over every line of your water bill with you. Just call our office at (408) 279-7900. The agency that approves all of the items on our bill is the California Public Utilities Commission. Their contact information is listed on the back of your bill.
Tuyen Phan & Ninh Nguyen
8 months agoApril 21, 2019
To whom it may concern:
Please help, We have rent a building for laundry business and on The rental contract, we agree to pay the sewer bill yearly, each year, Landlord just sent to us a billing statement with an amount of number. We could not figure where the amount comes from, and how ? what formula the landlord used to calculate the sewer charge? We have asked a couple of times but denying from them?
Do we believe they must be based on the usage of water upon the separated meter we have? Please let us know how to calculate it?
the whole year  2018 of water bill we paid to the San Jose city $8937.26
the whole year 2018 of water use (units CCF) is total of 1343 CCF
The correct sewer total charge is 1343x5.12= $6876 yearly upon tax bill? or different formula? thank you very much
please forward any replies to kpg1969kpg@gmail.com
Tuyen Phan & Ninh Nguyen
8 months agoApril 21, 2019
To whom it may concern:
Please help, We have rent a building for laundry business and on The rental contract, we agree to pay the sewer bill yearly, each year, Landlord just sent to us a billing statement with an amount of number. We could not figure where the amount comes from, and how ? what formula the landlord used to calculate the sewer charge? We have asked a couple of times but denying from them?
Do we believe they must be based on the usage of water upon the separated meter we have? Please let us know how to calculate it?
the whole year  2018 of water bill we paid to the San Jose city $8937.26
the whole year 2018 of water use (units CCF) is total of 1343 CCF
The correct sewer total charge is 1343x5.12= $6876 yearly upon tax bill? or different formula? thank you very much
please forward any replies to kpg1969kpg@gmail.com
Tuyen Phan & Ninh Nguyen
8 months agoApril 21, 2019
00:00:00
To whom it may concern:
Please help, We have rent a building for laundry business and on The rental contract, we agree to pay the sewer bill yearly, each year, Landlord just sent to us a billing statement with an amount of number. We could not figure where the amount comes from, and how ? what formula the landlord used to calculate the sewer charge? We have asked a couple of times but denying from them?
Do we believe they must be based on the usage of water upon the separated meter we have? Please let us know how to calculate it?
the whole year  2018 of water bill we paid to the San Jose city $8937.26
the whole year 2018 of water use (units CCF) is total of 1343 CCF
The correct sewer total charge is 1343x5.12= $6876 yearly upon tax bill? or different formula? thank you very much
please forward any replies to kpg1969kpg@gmail.com
Sharon Whaley
8 months agoApril 21, 2019
I can hear your frustration in your post. However, San Jose Water Company is not in charge of the City of San Jose's sewer charges and do not calculate these fees. Please look at this link http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=1649 and contact the City of SJ regarding your sewer fees.
Anonymous
6 months agoMay 26, 2019
This hurts..a $29 service charge increase for continuing to use minimal water? I'm not the one to complain but damn, gonna collect and use rainwater now.
Ridiculous service charge increase
6 months agoMay 29, 2019
I am not sure why it is so expensive to deliver water. I used to live in Santa Clara and my water bill is 1/4 of SJWC. At that time was manageable but paying $100 for water monthly is just insane. 

We did not choose the home to come with 1 inch pipe! Everyday, the bills keep going up.
poor SJ
6 months agoMay 29, 2019
not to mention the water quality is also decreasing with higher cost. I ended up buying  drinking water on top this high bill.
Sharon Whaley
6 months agoMay 30, 2019
I appreciate your thoughts about the rising cost of water service.  As you stated, the monthly service charge for all our meters did increase as of January 1, 2019.  The cost of a 3/4" meter, the most common residential meter size, was increased from $25.28 per month to $39.50 per month. Your home has a 1" meter so the rates are higher. When your home was built, the meter was sized based on several factors, including the number of water-using fixtures in the house, the presence of fire sprinklers, and plumbing codes at that time.  Downsizing the meter to meet your current water use needs will not necessarily meet the needs of future residents or provide the necessary water pressure for your site.  

For more information about the rate change, please visit our website at www.sjwater.com/2019rates. 

San Jose Water carefully uses the money raised through rates to improve the infrastructure that delivers high quality water to your home. Replacing aging water mains, tanks, and treatment plants to meet the increasingly stringent water quality standards of today does come at a cost.  You can view the 2018 Water Quality Report at www.sjwater.com/ccr for more information about the water provided to your home. 

If you have additional questions, please contact our Customer Service Department at (408) 279-7900.
jbradanini
5 months agoJuly 23, 2019
I can't understand how I could have $320.37 service charge.  There are 1 .5 people living at this address how could my bill go from $210 last time  to $621 this bill.
Sharon Whaley
5 months agoJuly 23, 2019
Thanks for reaching out about your billing question. While I can't go over your personal details about your account online, here's some general information. If you have a 1" meter, your monthly service charge is $65.85 per month and $131.70 per two-month billing period. Having a $320.37 service charge may mean that you are receiving a bill for more than a 2-month period. This can happen sometimes if there is a new customer situation and the bill is for a period longer than 2 months. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 408-279-7900 to go over the details of your specific bill. You can find the specific rates for service charges and quantity rates at https://www.sjwater.com/sites/default/files/2019-01/Schedule%201%20January%201%202019.pdf.
Janiece Kuri
about 1 month agoOctober 26, 2019
I just received my first bill.....$100.99 SERVICE CHARGE??!!!!!! This is absolutely ridiculous! I live in a 2 bedroom townhouse by myself!! I used $9.59 in water for 46 days.  Something has to be done about this!  This is outrageous that I am paying 10x more in service fees than the water usage!
Your comment