As part of its commitment to transparency and public outreach, SCV Water recently sent information to customers about potential rate changes over the next five years and the reasons behind them.
The SCV Water Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. Customers are encouraged to attend and ask questions about the proposed rates. The water agency has made an Independent Ratepayer Advocate available to review the rates and address customer concerns.
The suggested rates are based on an analysis of the agency’s cost of operations and the revenue necessary for maintaining current service levels. Two main factors are driving the proposed rates: the need to build PFAS treatment facilities and the effort to transition SCV Water’s three retail divisions into a single rate plan for all customers.
SCV Water has already constructed one of the first PFAS treatment facilities in California and three more systems will be up and running in the next 24 months. PFAS are a group of man made chemicals that are prevalent in the environment and were commonly used in industrial and consumer products such as cookware and carpet to repel grease, moisture, oil, water and stains.
New technology has allowed PFAS to be detected at minute levels and State water regulators have also set new notification and action levels for the substances. As a result, SCV Water has had to close some wells and pursue treatment options to maintain supply reliability – an issue faced by numerous water providers across California.
The second element of the proposed rate changes is a re-evaluation of rates for the agency’s retail divisions – Santa Clarita, Newhall and Valencia, which all have their own rate tables. The division rates were established before SCV Water began operating as a new agency in January 2018 and do not reflect the current cost of providing service.
Under the recommended rates, there will be a single rate table for all SCV Water customers that includes the Fixed Charge based on meter size and the Water Use Charge tied to consumption. The only division-specific difference remaining would be the debt that each division brought with it when SCV Water was created. That legacy debt will be broken out separately and paid only by customers in that division.
Customers who want more information, the reasoning behind the proposed rates, and information on community meetings and the public hearing, can find it online at yourSCVwater.com/rateplanning.