AB 1830 Provides Mobile Home Park Residents with Water Service Rate Protection
Bill Update: AB 1830 (V.M. Pérez) was signed by Governor Brown on September 25. This bill ensures that mobile home park residents are eligible to access the same protections and remedies as other water customers.
CFC Position: Support
In most mobile home parks, park owners pay the water company for all water used and then bills residents, even though there is no oversight on the billing of mobile home water usage. This measure amends current law to provide residents of mobile home parks who purchase water services from the park with the same overcharge protections and remedies enjoyed by customers of investor-owned utilities. Absent these protections, mobile home residents, already among the poorest Californians, can experience unequal protection under the law.
Current law stipulates that residents of a mobile home park may file a formal complaint with the CPUC if the resident believes they have been the victim of unjust water service rates. Unfortunately, even though the CPUC has the power to adjust unreasonable rates, the CPUC does not have the authority to grant monetary restitution to those residents subjected to outrageous water service overcharging.*
AB 1830 would authorize the commission, if it finds after investigation that the mobile home park has charged an unjust or unreasonable rate in violation of existing law, to order the mobile home park to reimburse the complainant and any other current and former tenants affected by the rate.
By affording mobile home park residents meaningful opportunity to complain to the CPUC and to receive an effective remedy, AB 1830 may prevent mobile home park owners from unjustly and unreasonably profiting off of low-income residents, while also ensuring that the victims are eligible for the restitution they deserve.
AB 1830 ensures mobile home park residents will not be subject to outrageous water rates, no matter how the residents purchase their water service.
*The need for this policy remedy surfaced due to the January ruling by
the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regarding the exorbitant water
rates charged by Sunbird Mobile home Park in Thermal, California. The
PUC ruled in favor of the residents, declaring the park’s $500-$1,000
monthly water bills for arsenic contaminated water to be “unjust” and
“unreasonable” and instituted “rate relief,” issuing a revised schedule
of reasonable water rates to be used by the park. However, the PUC
determined it lacked authority under the statute to grant reimbursement
to residents as part of “rate relief,” even though this remedy is
enjoyed by water customers of investor-owned utilities.