On August 13, 2018, the California Water Association (CWA) submitted a letter to State Senator Bill Dodd removing CWA’s opposition to Senate Bill 998 (SB 998). This bill would, among other things, require an urban and community water system:
- That discontinues residential service to provide customers with information on how to restore service, waive interest charges on delinquent bills, and limit the amount of a service reconnection fee for a residential customer who demonstrates, as prescribed, household income below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
- That furnishes individually metered residential service to defined detached or multi-unit structures to make every good-faith effort to inform the residential occupants by written notice that service will be terminated, and that they have the right to become customers under certain specific circumstances.
- To report the number of annual discontinuations of residential service for inability to pay on its website, as well as to the State Water Resources Control Board, which is required to post the reported information on its website.
Since the current version of SB 998 includes many of the time-tested provisions of the California Public Utilities Commission’s Tariff Rule 11, “Discontinuance and Restoration of Service,” to which CWA’s member companies are subject, the letter outlines CWA’s reasons for rescinding its original opposition to SB 998 and highlights several differences that remain between the bill and Tariff Rule 11 in the areas of:
- Business/non-business hour reconnection fees.
- The definitions of a customer, medical professional, and low-income individual.
- Timing for discontinuing service for nonpayment.
- The waiver of interest fees on delinquent bills.
At this writing, SB 998 is awaiting floor action in the Assembly.