MYTH: California American Water charges Monterey households the highest water rates in the country.

  • REALITY: PWN’s claim is based on an unrealistically high water usage of 60,000 gallons/year. The average water use of a single-family residence in Monterey is 44,400 gallons per year, with an average bill of about $78. Like many utilities in this drought-prone state, Cal Am’s “conservation pricing” has tiered pricing to discourage water waste. Using a high benchmark skews PWN’s claim, and is not an accurate portrayal of utility costs.

MYTH: Public ownership means more local jobs.

  • REALITY: PWN claims that California American Water spends $8 million on out-of-state jobs. In truth, our “offsite operations” are services provided to us through our parent company. They bring tremendous savings to customers through economies of scale. Our call center efficiently handles routine requests about bill payments and service shut-offs. Meanwhile, our water quality testing lab in Alton, IL conducted more than 3,500 water quality tests for Monterey in 2015. Recreating these essential services locally would substantially drive up utility costs and would not provide the same level of service.

MYTH: California American Water makes a huge profit in Monterey.

  • REALITY: Over the last seven years, Cal Am's average rate of return on investment in Monterey has been -1.8%. For the period 2010-2016, Cal Am's cumulative cash-based earnings has been -$16 million. Monterey has not been a profit center for Cal Am.

MYTH: Despite the costs of acquiring and operating the water system, public ownership will result in lower bills.

  • REALITY: No condemnation of a water system has ever resulted in lower bills. Local customers would be required to pay for the acquisition of the water system, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars on top of their regular water bills. This is in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars required in future system improvements. In Felton, CA, a condemnation led customers to pay a high water bill for their public water service, and a high property tax bill to fund the purchase of the water system.