Notice Received from Cold Springs Water Co.

Note from Sandra at CS Water Co.

Today I have mailed to all Cold Springs Water Co. customers a letter regarding a rate increase.  This rate increase is necessary as we can not continue to lose money as we have been for the past few years. This year we have had to trim expenses everywhere possible, including salaries and benefits. If we do not receive this rate increase it may be necessary to either sell to Del Oro Water Co. (they have tried to purchase us in the past) or be taken over by TUD. Either of these options will result in much higher water prices than we are requesting. I have included (attached below) a copy of Strawberry Water Co. rates as of Dec 2008. You can also view it at They will not operate a company in the red and have the means to get the rate increases they need. TUD also has similar rates for the small water companies it has taken over. As you can see our water prices will still be very reasonable for Tuolumne County. You need to compare our rates with other small mountain communities and not with companies from large metropolitan areas. I hope I have answered your questions as to why we must get this rate increase. I am leaving on vacation tomorrow and will not be back until August 31, with hope that I will come back with fewer questions on my phone.

Thanks, Sandra Cold Springs Water Co.

Strawberry Water Rates Dec 2008  (PDF 286 kb)

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  1. Posted August 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Friday, Aug 21, 2009

    I’ve read the CS Water Company (Sandra Tucker) commentary and received the PUC notice in today’s mail. We’ve had a very reliable water company here over many years and have not suffered the problems that Strawberry cabin owners faced over several years with the failing Strawberry Water Company. The rate increases sought by CS Water Company on balance seem reasonsable to me.

    Jason Reed

    • Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      May 4, 2012, we received a proposed rate increase of $40.61 ready to serve fee, plus an increase from 5.29 to 5.45 for each 100 cu ft. used. I realize that costs have increase, but to me it seems excessive for a ready to serve fee. I would rather pay more for the water I use.

      We don’t see any improvement to the water system which is always leaking somewhere with water running down the streets for weeks if not months. The tank they replaced, we are playing montly fee each month. At times the water in highly chlorinated, you wonder if their system in operating correctly. The additional meter were for their benefit. They were installing meters at cabins that were not being used in years by one employee who was not happy.

      You may be aware of other improvements they made. Any information you may have regarding this increase would be greatly appreciated.

      Yours Respectfully,

      John & Carolyn Szczesny

  2. Posted March 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Be careful what you wish for. Indeed Strawberry has had a headache with the former water company. But now our rates have gone up and DOWC submits many rate hikes per year with the CPUC. Be careful what you wish for. You might want to talk to SPOA members or attend the annual SPOA meeting in July.

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Please note: the Note from Sandra at C.S. Water at the top and the first comment from Jason were from the 2009 rate hike request; CS Water was granted a 21% revenue boost effective Dec 2009.

      I am very satisfied with the water quality and the customer service provided by CSW, and the current rates. I’m one of the smallest users- tiny cabin sparsely used.

      About the May 2012 notice of application for a 44% revenue hike, I sent an email to owner Pete Kerns a couple of weeks before the meeting w/ CSW & PUC May 29 at Pinecrest Elementary.
      I expressed my concerns and asked him to consider withdrawing the (hike request) until he meets with his customers to explain it or change it to a more affordable request.
      “If you do that, and change the May 29 meeting at Pinecrest Elementary into a ‘town hall’ of sorts with your customers, I think you’ll get better results.”

      Mr. Kerns politely declined.

      Sandra at CSW was kind enough to email me the 60 page Excel spreadsheet application to the PUC, advice letter 57.
      Sheet I-1 shows CSW revenues increased over the last three years from $197K in 2009 to $243K in 2011.

      Line No. Description Previous Years
      See Annual Reports
      Year 2009 2010 2011

      1 Metered Customers $167,225 $183,349 $197,603
      2 Flat rate customers $30,022 $44,521 $21,150
      3 Private fire protection customers $0 $0 $0
      4 Other revenues: (describe) $0 $23,763 $24,578
      8 $197,247 $251,633 $243,331

      In my opinion CSW hasn’t explained what expenses they have had skyrocket so much as to warrant such a large rate hike on me (65%).

      My biggest concern is their request to change the rate structure that will reverse the water conservation we have achieved the last 3 years, and incentivize the community to double our current water use.
      They’ve requested to almost double the fixed or ready-to-serve charges (from $22.23 to $40.61/mo.) and cut the water-use charges by more than half (from $5.29 to $2.52 per 100 cu. ft.)

      It’s obvious to me, and CSW admitted as much at the May 29th meeting at Pinecrest Elementary this change in rate structure could easily cause the community to go back to the double water consumption of just 3 years ago (2009). In fact it’s clear that CSW would prefer we double our water use.

      Every 100 cu. ft of water we don’t use will be flowing down the N Fork Tuolumne river or remain in the underground tables near Peter Pam. The N Fork Tuolumne flows to Lake Don Pedro and eventually into the San Joaquin river system.

      If most customers are currently satisfied or very satisfied with the current water quality and water rates, we should not allow them to change the rate structure in a way that will cause us to double our water use.

  3. Posted June 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Is this legal? Other ready to serves are $6/month, $40/month seems very excessive! Even if you do not use your cabin you cannot turn the water off? I just want to know if it is legal and is this leading up to a class action law suit! Signed and unhappy Cold Springs Cabin Resident

    • Posted August 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s legal. The PUC is reviewing their application and responses from the public, and will decide how much of a rate increase to grant. Under PUC regulations, small water co’s are allowed to set rates that give them about 13% rate of return on the co’s capital investment. The regs are complicated, and it appears the PUC can also limit certain expenses a water co reports, so they may grant a rate increase smaller than requested.

      You can contact the PUC with your input on the issue. California Public Utilities Commission Water Utilities Division, Room 3106 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 Or email:

      What water co charges only $6/mo service charge? Our neighbors in nearby Strawberry pay around $65/mo service charge, and $6.55 per hundred cu. ft. of water used.

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