Note Regarding References to ORA: Until September 2018, Public Advocates Office was previously known as ORA - Office of Ratepayer Advocates. 


Great Oaks Water
2016 General Rate Case (GRC)



Great Oaks Water Company’s water system is located in San Jose, California and consists of one consolidated service area, serving approximately 20,500 service connections.

On July 1, 2015, Great Oaks Water Company submitted its Application to the CPUC requesting authorization to increase rates for water service over present levels: 

  • 2016: $1.4 million or 8.5 %
  • 2017: $1.1 million or 5.71%
  • 2018: $0.7 million or 3.51%

Specifically, Great Oaks' proposal is driven by increases these key areas:

  • $4.4 million in Capital Additions 
  • $357,000 in Employee Salaries and Benefits 
  • $165,000 in Purchased Power expense
  • $365,000 in Administrative and General Expense 
  • $143,000 in Operations & Maintenance expense 


Proposed Settlement

On February 26, 2016 the Public Advocates Office (the Office) and Great Oaks jointly filed a comprehensive proposed Settlement agreement requesting CPUC approval to adjust customer rates downward. 

  • July 1, 2016: -$1.15 million or a 6.8% decrease

Highlights of the Joint Settlement include reductions in Great Oaks initial request:

  • $2.28 million decrease in Capital Additions
  • $960 million decrease in Pump-Tax expense
  • $174,000 decrease in Employee Benefits  

The Joint Settlement covered all items, and no contested issues remained.


Final CPUC Decision

On May 26, 2016, the CPUC issued its Final Decision adopting the Settlement.



Public Advocates Office Position

Public Advocates Office (the Office) supports the Settlement because it allows Great Oaks to provide safe and reliable service to its customers, while reducing customer rates.   

 Public Advocates Office's Analysis

The Office  made an in-depth review of Great Oaks' Application, including:

  • Rate base increases, primarily impacted by new plant additions.
  • Modification to its Monterey-Style Water Revenue Adjustment Mechanism (“WRAM”).
  • Increases for employee health insurance and employee payroll.
  • Expansion of its WaterSmart Software conservation program.
  • The accuracy and propriety of Great Oaks’ sales forecasting methodology.
  • Surcharge for discounts and expenses associated with its Low Income Customer Assistance Program.
  • Appropriate level of forecasted expenses.

See the Office's October 19, 2015 Testimony.

See the Office’s August 3, 2015 Protest to Great Oaks’ GRC Application.

Proceeding Docket  

See the CPUC Proceedingdocket.

Visit the docket to subscribe to updates in this proceeding.   


Other Resources