As an elected leader, I always believe in taking on the tough challenges. The rate increases of San Jose Water was one them — a significant challenge for the cities of San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, Monte Sereno and Saratoga. My work began August 2016 and continues today. Long story short, with some innovative measures, we have either rejected, reduced or suspended 8 water rate increases. Here is my speech at a CPUC hearing in 2017. This is the reason why I was re-elected with the most votes in Saratoga’s election history.
So, here is my short explanation of what I did with water rates. Out of 30 councilmembers spread across San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, it was only Rishi who challenged San Jose Water — for 4 years now. I even rolled out a water app to make protests easier. Change doesn’t happen by fluke or magic. It takes focused effort and never giving up. That is the innovative value that a hi-tech executive can provide to citizens in the world of politics. It is all about problem solving — not activity for the sake of activity.
What are the accomplishments with Rep. Eshoo’s 4 trivial bills in 28 years? With the California fires? A CalFire press conference that was a photo op? Rep. Eshoo wants to bring high speed rail to Silicon Valley now. Really? Absent on all the important issues! I hear she has sent 5 to 6 mailers already. Typically, it is a single mailer. Is she worried? Yes, anyone should be worried when the truth finally comes to the fore. Her lack of accomplishments is the talk of our district. She said in 1988, she would challenge the sacred cows, but unfortunately far from it. The world has gone by for Rep. Eshoo since then. On the tech hearings, you have likely seen her spoof videos on YouTube. The mailer today has her flaunting the many endorsements. We have refuted many of her endorsements — they are without merit.
Just like I took on the water fight, I promise you, I will keep fighting the good fight, fearlessly on behalf of the people when I am in Washington next year. I will NEVER be a sold out Washington politician playing partisan politics. Nope, not me!
I ask for your support. Can you please make a contribution today at https://rishikumar.com/contribute to help us get to the finish line as winners. Please make the maximum possible contribution you can to help push us to victory.
Our momentum has built to a crescendo and we are pushing to win this race.
I would be honored to have your vote and I will never let you down.
DETAILS ON THE WATER ACTIVISM BELOW. Please visit RishiKumar.com/water for details
Rishi Kumar was very concerned to find San Jose Water Company’s (SJWC) profit balloon in a drought year, from a baseline of $22M to $52M — see the table below — based on surcharges, while citizens conserved water. The water bills had skyrocketed. Later, Rishi’s frustration grew when San Jose Water filed for another surcharge due to “undercollection” as their customers had conserved water in a drought. Many such citizen complaints turned Rishi into a water activist. So far, Rishi has led efforts to either reject, reduce or suspend 8 San Jose Water rate increase proposals.
Rishi’s engagement with SJWC’s water rate hike issue began in August 2016 with hosting a community meeting between citizens, San Jose Water Company and Santa Clara Valley Water District, when a spike in water bill was first observed. Rishi’s modus operandi to push back SJWC’s rate increases was soon established; file protests directed at the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) — the decision making authority — for every rate increase proposal that was presented. A water information page (www.RishiKumar.com/water) was established for this explicit purpose. A simple protest framework had been established — a winning formula — that was replicated again and again, A mobile app was rolled out in the Apple and Android platform to make protests easier, sending thousands of protest letters to CPUC and Office of Rate Payers Advocate (ORA). Here is the story so far.
- CPUC’s W5228 Resolution denied in part AL 548-W
- CPUC rejected AL 534
- CPUC rejected AL 532
- CPUC issued an Order Instituting Investigation (OII) of the merger of SJWC with Connecticut Water. July 2018
- A.17.04–001 ROE filing SJWC was approved at 8.3% instead of the 10.8% ROE requested by San Jose Water Company
- CPUC investigates San Jose Water’s billing practices (9/2018). Thanks to W Rates for leading charge in this effort
- AL 512 ($11.47M recovery) was withdrawn by SJWC — no reason stated. This had been earlier suspended by CPUC
- AL 510 was rejected
- AL 501 (3.65%) was rejected by CPUC.
- The drought mandate was effectively removed by the Santa Clara Valley Water district board (January 2017). San Jose Water had to remove the drought surcharges soon after.
- Please let me know if you have any questions with water or anything else.
- In solidarity,
🇺🇸 Rishi Kumar 🇺🇸
Candidate for United States Representative, California’s district 18