Saturday, April 11, 2015

Santa Catalina Water System General Rate Case


On November 15, 2010 Southern California Edison (Edison) requested the CPUC for a rate increase of $3.2 million or 80%, resulting in a total revenue requirement of $7.2 million, for its Santa Catalina Island Water System customers for upgrades to its aging water infrastructure. On April 23, 2012, the CPUC issued a proposed decision that

1) decreased the revenue requirement increase from Edison’s requested 80% to 45%

2) shifted costs to Edison’s electric customers, and

3) maintains service rates at present levels.

In April 2012, the CPUC issued a Proposed Decision decreasing Edison's revenue increase request and proposing that the upgrade costs for Santa Catalina's water system be shifted to Edison's electric ratepayers.

In August 2012, the CPUC issued a Ruling suspending the proceeding to allow parties to settle issues of dispute.

Division of Ratepayer Advocate's (DRA) Policy Position

On May 14, 2012, DRA submitted comments in response to the CPUC’s Proposed Decision stating that it:
  • Supports the PD’s decrease in revenue requirement increase.
  • Opposes the PD’s solution to shift costs to Edison’s electric customers who receive no benefit of improvements made to Catalina’s water service (additionally, Edison electric customers have received no appropriate notice of proposed rate increases as required by the CPUC).
  • Recommends the CPUC spread the rate increase over a 3-year period to mitigate rate shock to Catalina customers.
See DRA's May 16, 2011 preliminary testimony in response to Edison's revenue requirement request for the Catalina Island.

See DRA's December 17, 2010 protest to application.

Current Proceeding Status

In April 2012, Administrative Law Judge Barnett issued his Proposed Decision in the General Rate Case, which upheld Edison's alternative rate proposal, allowing it to collect $10.7 million from its state electric ratepayers instead of from Avalon ratepayers.

In reaching his decision to pass $10,700,000 of Edison's Rate Base to electric ratepayers, ALJ Barnett noted that the "water system primarily serves . . . visitors," that the effect on Edison's electric ratepayers would be "de minimis," and that Catalina ratepayers, who currently are paying the highest rates in California, facing a doubling or more of their current bills, "would welcome the relief, as was made clear at the public hearing."

The CPUC issued its final decision, basically taking the AJ's recommendations, on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
  • Notice of Name Change

    On September 26, 2013 the governor of California signed SB 96, which among other things, changed the name of DRA -- the Division of Ratepayer Advocates to “ORA - the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.”
  • ORA'S Mission
    DRA's statutory mission is to obtain the lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels.  In fulfilling this goal, ORA also advocates for customer and environmental protections. 
Note: The Consortium is trying to acquire the water company from Edison and turn it into a public owned water company.  The Consortium is composed of  the City of Avalon, the Catalina Island Conservancy, the Santa Catalina Island Company, the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, the Hamilton Cove Homeowners Association, the campgrounds represented by Guided Discoveries and condo and apartment owners represented by the Conference of Catalina Condos and Apartments.


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