Water May Get More Expensive for Pasadenans, Cheaper for Neighbors

Published : Monday, April 1, 2019 | 4:34 AM

If you live outside Pasadena’s city limits and are a Pasadena Water & Power customer, soon you might want to thank the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for saving you some money on your water bill. But if you live in Pasadena proper, you might need to take issue with the Jarvis crowd for the increase in yours.

But not just yet.

Pasadena Water and Power, known as PWP, has announced proposed rate hikes for its customers and two public meetings to explain and discuss them on April 11 and April 25.

The average Pasadenan’s water bill would increase by 3 percent as a result of the adjustments.

Those residing beyond the city’s boundaries would see a decrease of 17 percent.

“The disproportionate rate impact is the result of the cost shift associated with a relatively smaller number of outside city customers spread over a larger number of inside city customers,” the department explained in a statement.

The settlement from a class-action lawsuit brought by the Jarvis Taxpayers group in 2014 against the water-power retailer is cause for the rate adjustments, driving a $4.6 million shortfall for 2019 and one of $6.1 million by 2021, according to PWP.

There are, on a water customer’s bill, a “distribution and customer” (C&D) charge, a “commodity” charge, and a Capital Improvement Charge (CIC). People living outside the official city boundaries supplied by PWP pay more than those inside.

The differential was 25 percent for the C&D and commodity charges; 35 percent for the CIC.

As part of the settlement agreement approved by the County of Los Angeles Superior Court, PWP agreed to eliminate those differentials starting June 1.

PWP is proposing an average increase of 5.7 percent to the D&D charge across the board. In July, it would increase another 5.8 percent. There would be a simultaneous increase of 0.7 percent in the commodity charge.

The Jarvis group went to court claiming the rate differentials violated Proposition 218, which passed in 1996.

According to a report of the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) published at the time, the measure is intended, “to ensure that all taxes and most charges on property owners are subject to voter approval.”

The LAO said the law had a further intent to, “curb some perceived abuses in the use of assessments and property-related fees, specifically the use of these revenue-raising tools to pay for general governmental services rather than property related services.”

The April 11 meeting will be held at 6: 30 p.m., Robinson Park Recreational Center, 1081 North Fair Oaks Ave. The April 25 meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m., Pasadena City College Community Education Center, 3035 East Foothill.

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