San Diego

San Diego overcharged water customers $79 million since 2014

The City has appealed the ruling, asking for the case to be dismissed.

SAN DIEGO — Months after a decide dominated the City of San Diego is overcharging some water customers, the town has but to pay up, or make adjustments to its charges.

Attorneys say the delay is costing taxpayers thousands and thousands in penalty charges.

They filed the case again in 2017, saying San Diego was violating a portion of the California structure, which states governments that present companies are usually not allowed to cost extra for these companies than it prices them to ship.

“So, whatever it costs to deliver water to a house, that’s what they’re allowed to charge and they’re not allowed to charge more than that,” mentioned Attorney Steven Tindall with the Gibbs Law Firm.

Specifically, the go well with alleged San Diego had been overcharging single household residential customers in tiers 3 and 4, that are those that use extra water than the typical buyer.

The legal responsibility a part of this case was first heard in 2021.

Then, simply this previous March, through the damages section, a decide dominated in opposition to the town, saying they owed customers greater than $79 million relationship again to 2014, which is the earliest the statute of limitations would enable.

“In addition to that, the court said for every month after March 31, that amount goes up by an additional 643,000 until San Diego changes the water rates to make them constitutional,” mentioned Tindall.

Tindall says to date, no customers have been reimbursed and no adjustments to charges have been made, leading to even steeper penalties.

“That’s been five months since then. That’s an additional over three-million dollars that the judgement has increased because San Diego has not changed the way it’s done it’s water rates to make them constitutional,” mentioned Tindall.

Tindall estimates it breaks down to just about $21,000 a day.

CBS 8 went straight to the town to get their tackle the matter.

In a press release, a spokesperson for the town legal professional’s office mentioned:

“The court docket’s ruling, if upheld, will profit the highest 20% of water-using single-family households in San Diego. These high-end water customers shall be enriched on the expense of the 80% of residential households that use much less water. As the City doesn’t revenue from its tiered water charges, the City is not going to pay no matter judgment the court docket awards. Rather, all San Diego water customers can pay it by means of larger water charges. 

 The City of San Diego maintains the tiered water rate structure it based mostly on Cost of Service Studies in 2013 and 2015 is completely authorized, and it continues to battle to guard its methodology of charging larger charges to the high-end customers whose demand creates extra prices for the water system. The trial court docket judgment is on enchantment, and the City’s opening transient is due on September 19, 2022. As a part of the enchantment, the plaintiffs ask the Court of Appeal to extend the award to the high-volume water customers to as a lot as $120 million. The City argues that your complete case ought to be dismissed as wrongly determined.”

If the town wins its enchantment, they’re going to be off the hook. If not, they’re going to need to pay up and alter charges.

A listening to is being held on Monday, September 20 at 2 p.m.

The listening to doesn’t deal with the authorized judgement however will enable San Diego householders to touch upon water rate improve points. 

At the listening to, the City should disclose when adjustments shall be made to the at present tiered water billing system. 

WATCH RELATED: Drowning in debt: Nearly 70,000 San Diego households are behind on water payments (February 2022)

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