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Sacramento County Water Rate Comparison

    Subject of Investigation

    Water to Sacramento County users is distributed and marketed by more than a dozen entities. Water rates charged to users are set by these individual districts, municipalities and companies.

    Reason for Investigation

    The Grand Jury received several complaints relative to the operation of water districts within Sacramento County.

    Procedures

    The Jury attended water district board meetings and reviewed documents provided by the districts. Specifically the individual

    distributors provided rate structure information. The information on the attached chart was provided by agencies listed.

    Findings

    There exists a significant variation in water rates charged to county users. The sources of our water are Folsom Lake, the river system, and wells. As Sacramento County is relatively flat, pumping costs should not be a significant factor in explaining these differences.

    The County is only partially metered and most distributors have both flat and metered rates. Generally flat rates are based on the size of the connection, but in some cases they are based on the square footage of the parcel served. For comparison purposes, we elected to list rates to residential customers of average single family home parcel size, quoting both 3/4" and 1" connection size rates.

    The rate structure is summarized in Table 1. There is a significant disparity in the rates, the highest being almost 10 times the lowest. The average for rates in the County is approximately $12 per month. In absolute terms, this is a low rate compared to that charged in Southern California. Sacramento users benefit from being close to the sources of their water.

    Variable factors which could contribute to the different costs may include, among other reasons:

    · Employee labor

    · Board benefits

    · Legal fees

    · District size

    · Age of equipment

    · Maintenance

    · Federal and state water quality standards

    Recommendations

    The Grand Jury recommends that:

    · The public water districts explain the factors and methodology used for setting the rates

    · Users served by each of the distributors should monitor their rates closely

    Response Required

    The Grand Jury requires responses to the recommendations contained in this report be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Superior and Municipal Courts by September 30, 1996, from:

    · Arcade Water District

    · Carmichael Water District

    · City of Folsom

    · City of Sacramento

    · Del Paso Manor Water District

    · Fair Oaks Water District

    · Florin County Water District

    · Northridge Water District

    · San Juan Water District

1995/96 Sacramento County Grand Jury - Final Report (Internet Version) June 30, 1996

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