Background

There are several types of proceedings that determine the rates and services of California’s investor-owned water utilities:

  1. General Rate Cases (GRCs) occur every three years and establish a utility’s operating budget. GRCs also determine how a utility’s authorized budget will be collected from different customer classes through rates.
  2. Cost of Capital proceedings also occur every three years and determine the profit percentages that utilities are authorized to receive on investments necessary for providing safe and reliable water service.
  3. Utilities may also file separate applications for changes in rates and services brought about by significant non-recurring events, such as a purchase or sale of a system, or a large project that warrants examination in a dedicated Commission proceeding.

The Water Branch's team of engineering, accounting, and rate specialists provide expert testimony in water proceedings.  Over the course of a proceeding, which may last 18 months or more, our staff analyze utility requests in order to provide the Commission with recommendations that serve the interests of ratepayers for safe and reliable service at lowest possible cost. Links to our testimony and recommendations in recent proceedings can be found on the right of this page. Our involvement in past proceedings can be searched here. 

Policy Principles

Investor-owned water utilities operate a monopoly franchise. Without competition to enforce market discipline, the Commission should make decisions for utility rates and services consistent with what would be expected in a competitive environment.

Historic Legislation

Public Utilities Code Section 451

All charges demanded or received by any public utility, or by any two or more public utilities, for any product or commodity furnished or to be furnished or any service rendered or to be rendered shall be just and reasonable. Every unjust or unreasonable charge demanded or received for such product or commodity, or service is unlawful.