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FPUD is padding rate increases


Last updated 11/26/2017 at Noon

The San Diego County Water Authority is charging FPUD (Fallbrook Public Utilities District) 3.7 percent more for water in 2018, including its fixed or added costs. I have this in writing from SDCWA and have researched the SDCWA website. Anyone can access their website, Historical water rate charges are available online.

To contact someone to answer a question, use It’s easy and you should get a prompt answer to questions. Using those websites eliminates the need to wait for information from FPUD about how much is being paid for water.

The information officer at FPUD has reported to Village News and to me that “they will pay 3.7 percent more for water, but with "added costs." FPUD will pay SDCWA 8 percent more for water in 2018, and has been paying SDCWA an average of 8 percent more per year for water for the last 10 years.”

FPUD intends to increase water by 16 percent in 2018, a figure reflecting a compounding of water costs charged by the SDCWA for the past 10 years. After 2018, FPUD intends to charge 8 percent more each year, with more compounding and doubling of SDCWA water costs.

FPUD’s fixed or added costs should be shown separately on our bills, and not lumped together with water costs increasing from SDCWA. By doing so, the cost FPUD is charging us for water is compounding each year; it is adding both SDCWA wholesale increase plus its own padded increase. It is just like interest compounding upon the principal of a credit card. In simple terms, FPUD ratepayers are getting screwed.

FPUD needs to provide greater transparency to the public when reporting water costs paid to SDCWA. I requested a clarification of the numbers from the FPUD information officer, but have not heard back.

The FPUD fixed costs are huge and should be adequate to cover expenses. By adding more fixed costs to the wholesale water costs paid to SDCWA, and then compounding 8 to 16 percent more each year, they are tricking ratepayers into paying far more than what is actually being paid to SDCWA over time, and blaming the increase on payments to SDCWA.

In summary, FPUD intends to charge 16 percent more for water in 2018, even though it will pay 3.7 percent to SDCWA for water – a difference of 12.3 percent. FPUD claims it has paid 8 percent more each year to SDCWA for the past 10 years. This is untrue. If this "padding" of water costs has been going on for the past 10 years, along with compounding percentages each year, then the ratepayers are due credit back to cover overcharges. Another option is to roll back water costs to reflect overcharges from false reporting of water payments to SDCWA.

I hope this can be resolved to prevent the unpleasant task of bringing in third party auditors and lawyers to get to the truth. There is so much at stake for the local economy and for growers. Water costs must be as realistic as possible for our ratepayer owned public utility.

Pauline Paulsrude


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