GGTA Seeking Answers on Water Rate Increases

Gateway Apartments and Townhomes residents saw increases of roughly 20 to 40 percent in their Conservice water bills over the last couple of months, and the Golden Gateway Tenants Association is looking for answers as to why such hikes occurred and how they were calculated.

The water is provided by the SFPUC, which sets the rates and mails notices of increases to “account holders.” Gateway tenants did not receive advance notice of these increases, which happened at the same time that Conservice changed its account numbers.

The change in account numbers negated existing automatic payment plans, and the Conservice notice of that was in small print on the back of the bill.

Residents are asking various questions about the water bill and increase:

– Who gets billed? Gateway management changed the leases for tenants who moved in sometime during 2001 and later so they would receive a monthly bill for water and sewer services.

– That leads to the question of who is paying for water for tenants who moved in prior to the change in 2001: Is the Gateway paying out of its operating budget, or are tenants who moved in after the change in 2001 in effect subsidizing the rest?

– Who is paying for water use in the common areas, such as gardening and the laundry rooms?

– Who pays for the water use of the commercial tenants, such as L’Olivier and Safeway?

– How are the water bills calculated, given the units are not individually metered? (The problem with individually metering the units is cost of purchase and installation and potential administrative charges.)

The GGTA will ask for a meeting with Gateway management and will consult with other knowledgeable sources to get answers to these questions.

According to the SFPUC website, it plans to effect rate increases every July 1 through 2017. This is needed, according to the site, due to the need to pay for critical water and sewer projects and because of the drought.

GGTA Past President Brian Browne wrote a letter to the media about the water rate increases in June; click here to read the full article.