We’ve had another eventful week in terms of operations. Over the last seven days, the CVWD operations team has handled five emergency leaks – one main break (quickly brought under control) and four service leaks at the 3000 block of Fairesta Avenue, the 2300 block of Panorama Drive, the 2400 block of Rockdell Street, the 3000 block of Stevens Street and the 2500 block of Fairmont Avenue, respectively. That’s a lot of leaks in this kind of heat for our crew, so please give them a “thumbs up” if you see them out there. As a reminder, you can sign up for automatic notifications by email/text/phone in the event your immediate area is impacted by an outage (the service is called Everbridge). Most of those who’ve signed up and utilized the alerts have provided positive feedback, and we recommend it too – https://www.cvwd.com/sign-up-for-emergency-notifications.
In the meantime, our finance team has initiated the process to pursue bond financing for the next three years of pipeline replacements. Bond financings are typically completed over 90 days and starting now means that we will have funds ready by early spring to pay contractor invoices that start coming due around that time. It also means that we can be prepared early in case the bond market presents a favorable opportunity in terms of interest rates before then. The goal is to chase savings by addressing problem pipelines before they become emergency leaks like those from this past week.
Last week, I noted that we’ve begun the discussion for another rate study much earlier this year (in September as opposed to next February). It’s not typical to develop a study every year, but we are at the end of a three-year rate cycle. Perhaps more significantly, there have been a lot of changes with more anticipated changes down the line, whether potentially significant shifts in cost structures (cost of water, treatment, infrastructure, etc.), water conservation targets, or drought remediation measures. We’ve also taken note of the community’s input over the last several years and a sampling of those topics include consideration for customers with large lots, the difference between different customer classes such as single-family, multi-family and commercial, how wastewater flow is measured, etc. These things will need more time to discuss. This, paired with our commitment to community engagement, means we’re all best served by starting the process early.
Speaking of community engagement, we are planning to send a survey to the community in the coming month to solicit feedback about what’s most important to customers – for example, how do you balance: infrastructure resilience / equity / affordability / water availability / financial sustainability / a host of other priorities?
To this end, we are currently recruiting for the regulatory & public affairs manager position that was recently left vacant. We’re also looking for a communications consultant. I believe there is significant benefit to be had from engaging someone who can make sure we develop an effective outreach plan while ensuring that we appropriately maintain forums for dialog.
Thank you as always, and talk soon.
James Lee, General Manager