California Utility Services

Our city officials want to increase the Bureau of Sanitation sewer service charge fee by 40%. The last time these fees were increased was Mar 1 2005 $2.49, July 1 2005 $2.66 (note: increase two times in year), July 1 2006 $2.85, July 1 2007 $3.05, July 1 2008 $3.27 per HCF.

The proposed package consists of 6.5% increases in each of the first three years, followed by 7.5% in the fourth and fifth years. The current rate $3.27 per HCF (748 gallons) would change to $3.48 for three years and $3.74 per HCF for the following two years.

California Utility Services
California Utility Services

Ratepayers know this is not the time to increase rates on top of proposed electric and water rate increases. Our economy is suffering a double dip recession with no end in sight. You might think that the proposed increases are not that much? You are wrong. Bureau of Sanitation already collects over $700 million dollars per year from the SSC Sewer Service Charge portion located on the LADWP utility bills. This money is collected for the purpose of rebuilding the infrastructure of our sewer system and to help pay for the filtration plants located throughout the city.

What has happened to the billions of dollars the Bureau of Sanitation has been collecting all these years? When city controller Wendy Gruel came into office I asked her to audit the bureau and find out where the money is going? She has not responded. I know that a great amount of the billions collected goes to high union salaries, special interests, developers, and expensive sub contractors. It seems the rebuilding of our sewer system infrastructure has been dangerously lacking. The money has not been going for intended needs. How can we believe our officials that the increased fees will go rebuild the infrastructure? We voted to have a ratepayer advocate and as of now we still do not have one. If and when we finally get a ratepayer advocate will he or she look into Bureau of Sanitation funds?

There are many inequities within the sewer service charges. The estimations taken by the winter rainy season formula Bureau of Sanitation uses does not stand up to what is billed. Two identical houses using identical amounts of water with the identical number of household occupants could end up with entirely different sewer service charge estimations. Why should the ratepayer pay SSC for 80 % of the property water that goes into the landscape ground or evaporates from the pool? This is especially true in the San Fernando Valley. I asked my third district councilman Dennis Zine to look into these inequities back in early 2008. He filed a motion in 2008 with the Energy and Environment Committee headed by Jan Perry to look into inequities of the LABS sewer service charges estimations. Every year I ask the committee to bring up this motion and every year it has not happened. It’s been stone walled by committee president Jan Perry.

Leonard Horowitz is owner of California Utility Services 800-400-1727. Since 2003 California Utility Services has been installing DWP  sub meters for residential and commercial property owners for reducing the sewer service charges by having actual reading of a second private sub meter rather than receive estimations. Since 1996 the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Sewer Service Charge Relief Program is Los Angeles Municipal Code 64.41.

By daryl

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