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Felton Organizes to Take Back Water From RWE AG

Felton residents are organizing to buy back their water supply from the multinational RWE AG. This corporation, which touts its services as ‘everything you need from one source - electricity, gas, water, recycling� and which also has interests in nuclear energy, bought Felton’s privately owned water in 2002.

But RWE AG is no match for residents like the 86 year old man who is out walking the hills and knocking on doors.

At a recent board meeting, one speaker pointed to the global impact of RWE AG’s acquisitions; her daughter who lives in London has the same water carrier.

Felton residents would like to acquire their water system and put it in public hands, but Cal-Am is trying to undermine these community efforts while pushing to raise rates. When a water main broke last December in Felton, residents phoned an emergency hotline that led to an operator located in Illinois. The company failed to alert some of the residents to boil their water. The company has also interrupted service without notifying customers.

As of August, RWE-Thames had already gotten over $40 million in rate increases from their America's water division and they are pressing for rate increases in almost every one of their state subsidiaries. They have an aggressive expansion strategy and are planning to build a large ocean water desalination plant on the Monterey Coast, at the mouth of the nationally protected estuary, the Elkhorn Slough.

To find out more about the campaign, contact FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) and Public Citizen at 510-663-0888 or California (at) citizen.org
Felton residents are organizing to buy back their water supply from the multinational RWE AG. This corporation, which touts its services as ‘everything you need from one source - electricity, gas, water, recycling� and which also has interests in nuclear energy, bought Felton’s privately owned water in 2002.

But RWE AG is no match for residents like the 86 year old man who is out walking the hills and knocking on doors.

These redidents intend to present a petition calling for a bond measure to join their water district with the San Lorenzo Vally Water District; because Felton is unincorporated, the residents must take their grievances to the County Board.

Speakers at todays board meeting said that there are only 1300 hookups in the area and they only need 10% of those to sign on. They expect to get 3 - 5 times that amount.

One speaker pointed to the global impact of RWE AG’s acquisitions; her daughter who lives in London has the same water carrier.

Another speaker made it clear that these companies won’t stop at trying to acquire privately owned water supplies; they are going after publicly owned supplies, such as in Stockton Ca, as well.

There will be a meeting on June 16 at 7:00 PM at the Felton Town Hall.

Check out the FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) site for more details.
 
 


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Cal Am Public Relations

--
Today Evan Jacobs, the public relations officer for California-American Water (part of American Water Works Co., which in turn is owned by RWE Aktiengesellschaft of Essen Germany), spoke at public comment period during the County Supervisors meeting.
evan_jacobs_cropped.jpg


His claim:




***Cal Am is a good neighbor. His evidence was as follows: The company has paid over $70,000 in property taxes and has not raised the water rates.

That was about the extent of it.

But he followed with what sounded to me like a thinly veiled threat of a tough and expensive financial battle if the county supports the San Lorenzo Water District's efforts to buy back Felton's water supply. This is not the first time that Cal - Am has used the 'unnecessary burden on taxpayers' argument.

Cal Am is located at 195 Kirby, in Felton. Their only listed phone number is a customer service line: 1-800-794-7350

This corporation seems intent on fighting the residents of Felton all the way.

Make it to the meeting if you can.

If you cannot, look for a broadcast on Community Television (probably in about 3 weeks).
 

More Info

From the Public Citizen website

Now Felton residents would like to acquire their water system and put it in public hands, but Cal-Am is trying to undermine these community efforts while pushing to raise rates. When a water main broke last December in Felton, residents phoned an emergency hotline that led to an operator located in Illinois. The company failed to alert some of the residents to boil their water. The company has also interrupted service without notifying customers.

As of August, RWE-Thames had already gotten over $40 million in rate increases from their America's water division and they are pressing for rate increases in almost every one of their state subsidiaries. They have an aggressive expansion strategy and are planning to build a large ocean water desalination plant on the Monterey Coast, at the mouth of the nationally protected estuary, the Elkhorn Slough.

On Wednesday February, 25 2004, the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA), and the County of Santa Cruz challenged the rate increases and presented final oral arguments to the Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco. Rate increases of up to 60% were requested for the 50,000 ratepayers in the Sacramento Valley, Felton and Larksfield


To find out more about the campaign, contact Public Citizen at 510-663-0888 or
California (at) citizen.org
 

Santa Cruz water rates will more than double by 2009

Worried about the CalAm/RWE rate increases? How about the Santa Cruz Municipal Utilities (SCMU, but I call it SCUM) rate increase? Water rates in Santa Cruz will rise by 124% between 2004 and 2009. See www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/cc/archives/04/6-8meeting/6-8rpt/wt494.htm

The debate about Felton's water system is naive. Operating and capital costs drive water prices. The form of ownership (public or private) is less significant. For privately owned utility companies, the rate of return (profit) is legally limited.

There are pros and cons to public ownership. If we believe CalAm/RWE, public ownership is all bad. If we believe FLOW, public ownership is all good. Nothing is that simple.

(Incidentally, it is riotously funny to watch Republican politicians fight for public ownership in Felton.)

Here in Santa Cruz, I would take a well-managed private company over SCUM any day. I am not suggesting that CalAm is well managed, just that SCUM isn't.

My favorite thing about SCUM is its anti-conservation pricing scheme. My husband and I live in a brand-new building with low-flow fixtures and water-efficient appliances. Our water usage is about one quarter of the norm. People like us, who choose to conserve, actually pay the highest water rates. The more you use, the less you pay, on a per-gallon basis. This is because there is a minimum water/sewer charge of $53.29 every two months, even if you never turn on the tap. Brilliant!
 

Re: Felton Organizes to Take Back Water From RWE AG

>>The debate about Felton's water system is naive

so it's ok with you that some lying, cheating multinational who deals in nuclear waste and has the cash on hand to pay the the fines instead of cleaning up the mess owns the water you drink? it's not all about what dollar amount you pay. this is what really gets me about pseudo activists. it all comes down to what they have to pay. operating and capital costs do not drive water prices. water is a limited resource. it must remain clean. it cannot be controlled by a profit making and known polluting entity.

if you don't like your water management then work against it. but don't advocate for some conglomerate to move in and take control of the source of life.
 

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