MWD's Refusal to Disclose Rate Model Forces Legal Action

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to a service area covering more than 19 million people, has refused to disclose its rate model to the public. MWD attorneys admitted during Superior Court proceedings that its rate model is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that contains “everything that demonstrates the rate setting and all the details in the numbers that we engaged in to arrive at our rates …” These rates are ultimately borne by the public, yet MWD is claiming that the way it allocates its costs to its water rates is proprietary and is a secret.

The San Diego County Water Authority filed legal action on August 24, 2016 to force MWD to disclose a fully functioning rate model so that the public can understand how MWD sets its rates and charges. The Water Authority believes that MWD is withholding information that is public information under state law. A hearing is scheduled January 30, 2018 in San Francisco Superior Court.

Court documents: