SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a settlement agreement between California American Water, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The approved settlement increases the affordability of drinking water for more than 20,000 low-income customers of California American Water. The settlement ensures that essential levels of indoor water use remain accessible to low-income households. The action by the CPUC was also supported by the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, the state’s consumer protection office for utility rates.
Low-income assistance is provided to water customers in the form of a credit on their monthly bill. The on-bill credit for enrolled low-income customers will now be increased from 15 percent of the average monthly residential bill in each area to 20 percent of the average bill. The settlement is a model for water rate and low-income programs at other utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“This decision ensures that seniors on fixed incomes and families facing financial difficulties have access to high quality reliable water service for essential indoor uses,” said California American Water Rates Director Dave Stephenson. “The decision also promotes wise water use with higher costs for water used outdoors.”
The settlement impacts all California American Water customers in seven counties in California, including Los Angeles, Monterey, Placer, Sacramento, San Diego, Sonoma and Ventura.
The settlement brings the low-income surcredit for California American Water customers on par with the surcredit given to low-income energy utility customers participating in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program. The increased discount ensures that low-income customers have access to an affordable, high quality and reliable water supply for essential uses.
The Commission’s decision follows a settlement reached in 2012 between California American Water and NRDC to adopt a tiered water rate structure encouraging customers to fix leaks, install water-efficient appliances and avoid over-irrigating their lawns in order to save on their monthly water bills. Both agreements promote California’s goal of a 20-percent reduction in per capita water use by 2020.
California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 600,000 people.
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 30 states, and parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.