Tag Archive for: Public Utilities

‘Ridiculous’ Water Bills. ‘Inordinate’ Hold Times. After Years of Customer Complaints, San Diego is Making Sweeping Changes.

Years of complaints about billing mistakes and hours-long customer-service hold times have prompted San Diego officials to make sweeping changes to the city’s Water Department.

The changes include a new billing system, switching customer service software, new call routing, more payment options and a new policy alerting customers when their bill is being withheld for a leak investigation.

The city is also hiring more customer service workers, paying them more, expanding their training and putting new leaders in charge of their efforts.

Napa City Water Rates Will Likely Increase in 2024

Water customers in the city of Napa will likely pay higher rates starting in 2024.

The city’s utilities department laid out the proposed increases – the first in three years – in a Tuesday presentation to the Napa City Council. Joy Eldredge, the city utilities director, made the case for rate hikes, stating that Napa’s water division will face an annual $6.8 million budget deficit if rates aren’t adjusted.

The City of San Diego is Proposing Changes That Will Affect Your Water Bill

A forum was held in Pacific Beach Tuesday evening to discuss a possible water rate hike for the city of San Diego.

As proposed by the city’s Public Utilities Department, water rates will increase 10.2% beginning on Dec. 1, 2023, and up to 8.7% on Jan. 1, 2025.

Utilities Tap Water ‘Microgrid’ Tech for New Supply

As drought continues to strangle the American West, some small water providers are exploring new technologies to boost their supplies.

The technologies range in size and scope. One involves towing buoys off the coast of California that desalinate water and pipe it ashore. Another can recycle nearly all the water within an apartment building on site.

Are Water, Wastewater Bills About to Rise?

While water rates have increased in the past few years, it’s been longer since wastewater rates changed.

“We have not had an increase in over a decade, more than 10 years,” said Shauna Lorance, director of the city of San Diego’s Public Utilities.

Drinking water rates did increase about two years ago, and under this proposal, they will likely be going up another 2%. The biggest change will be for wastewater charges.

Morning Brief: Power Plants Part of Nation’s Critical Infrastructure, Staff to Remain Onsite for Weeks, Months

U.S. electric utilities and other energy companies are preparing to have key personnel remain at power plants and operations centers to ensure the facilities remain online during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government considers power plants part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

States, Utilities Pledge to Keep Water Flowing Amid Coronavirus

More than 100 public utilities in at least 34 states have agreed to halt the practice of cutting off water to homes that fail to pay their water bills during the coronavirus crisis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging people to wash their hands regularly with soap, saying it’s one of the most effective methods of keeping the Covid-19 virus at bay. But that’s only possible if a household has running water.

Lawsuit Says City Utilities Department Leader Was Fired for Exposing Illegal Activity

A former Public Utilities Department leader has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego, claiming officials illegally diverted $1 million in water and wastewater funds to other city services and fired her for refusing to conceal the activity.

Susan LaNier, a former deputy director and internal auditor for the utilities department, was one of five utility leaders the city fired in February, following public outcry over billing errors and accusations of mismanagement within the department.

San Diego Takes Steps to Boost Accuracy of Water Bills After Public Outcry

San Diego took several steps this week to boost the accuracy of water bills, improve customer satisfaction and speed up the installation of digital “smart” meters.

The changes come after public outcry in 2017 and 2018 over exorbitant water bills received by many customers which city officials blamed on faulty meters, employee errors and mismanagement in the Public Utilities Department.

City Of San Diego Hires New Water Department Director

The city of San Diego has hired a new director for its Public Utilities Department, NBC 7 has learned. The department has struggled to regain customer trust after more than a year of audits and internal investigations. Shauna Lorance, currently the interim General Manager at Monterey County Water Resources, will take over the position vacated by Vic Bianes, who resigned abruptly last year. According to Lorance’s resume on LinkedIn, she also formerly worked at San Juan Water District. This comes after the mayor’s office announced earlier this year a major overhaul of its troubled water department, including the departures of five top directors and managers.