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AWA Consolidates Rates to Undermine Protest

The consolidation is AWA’s response to several successful protests that stopped unfair rate increases within AWA’s individual water systems. Under Proposition 218, customers have the right to protest the consolidation. If a majority protests, the consolidation will not go forward. More info...

Rate Increase Sparks Controversy at La Mel Heights

On August 30, 2012, the AWA Directors held a meeting with La Mel Heights ratepayers to discuss their proposed consolidation of all systems. La Mel residents expressed resentment at AWA’s broken promises from the past. More than 10% of La Mel ratepayers are paying for a new pipeline that does not serve them (they are still using the old pipeline that AWA mostly replaced, but are paying for the new one). AWA General Manager Mancebo claimed that operating costs exceed the revenue paid by users, and therefore there is no money to complete improvements. More...

About Prop 218

Proposition 218 allows ratepayers to protest water rate increases. If a majority of ratepayers protest an increase, the rates cannot be raised. Ratepayers do have the ultimate say in whether their rates will go up or not.
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Success Stories

Read about how La Mel and other local ratepayers have successfully protested rate increases.

La Mel Heights Water System

The La Mel water system serves about 60 homes in La Mel Heights along Ridge Road. La Mel is one of four separate water systems that Amador Water Agency (AWA) services. Water for the La Mel system is supplied by a groundwater well. After the water is pumped from the ground. the water is treated and then stored in a tank before it is delivered to homes via the distribution piping system.

La Mel Service Area Map


How Ratepayers are Affected

If the La Mel system is not operated efficiently, costs to ratepayers will be excessive. The La Mel water system is the poster child for poorly operated water systems within AWA. Since 2003, La Mel operational costs have increased by 93%. In 2006 alone, costs went up 69%.

The biggest reason for these increases is greater salaries and benefits which more than tripled from 2003 ($15,475) to 2006 ($51,020). It is no wonder that costs have increased so drastically.

All of these expenditures will eventually be paid by ratepayers so it is important to stop the waste to keep rates from going through the roof.

The increase in operational costs indicate how inefficiently AWA has operated the system. However, maintaining the system has also been an issue. By 2010, AWA spent all of the reserves and more, leaving La Mel $200k in debt and the debt is increasing every year.

All of the money that was spent was spent without the consent of the ratepayers. Now La Mel ratepayers are obligated to repayment of the funds that were overspent during the last 8 years.

Sutter Creek Rates vs. Consumer Price Index