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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
    ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
    TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                        to            
Commission file No. 1-13883
CALIFORNIA WATER SERVICE GROUP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware77-0448994
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
1720 North First Street
San Jose,California95112
(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)
(408367-8200
(Registrant's Telephone Number, including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class:Trading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered:
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per shareCWTNew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 of Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232,405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated FilerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
 Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes    No 
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $1,814 million on June 30, 2023, the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter. The valuation is based on the closing price of the registrant's common stock as traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Common stock outstanding at February 12, 2024 was 57,675,179 shares.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain information required to be disclosed in Part III of this report is incorporated by reference from the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on or about May 29, 2024. The proxy statement is expected to be filed no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report.

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PART I
Item 1.    Business.
Forward-Looking Statements
This annual report, including all documents incorporated by reference, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the PSLRA). The forward-looking statements are intended to qualify under provisions of the federal securities laws for “safe harbor” treatment established by the PSLRA. Forward-looking statements in this annual report are based on currently available information, expectations, estimates, assumptions and projections, and our management's beliefs, assumptions, judgments and expectations about us, the water utility industry and general economic conditions. These statements are not statements of historical fact. When used in our documents, statements that are not historical in nature, including words like “will,” “would,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “may,” “could,” “estimates,” “assumes,” “anticipates,” “projects,” “progress,” “predicts,” “hopes,” “targets,” “forecasts,” “should,” “seeks,” “indicates,” or variations of these words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements in this annual report include, but are not limited to, statements describing our intention, indication or expectation regarding our financial performance, dividends or targeted payout ratio, our expectations, anticipations or beliefs regarding governmental, legislative, judicial, administrative or regulatory timelines, decisions, approvals, authorizations, requirements or other actions, including our 2021 GRC, rate amounts or cost recovery, certain PFAS regulations, and associated impacts, such as our expected or estimated revenue benefit or loss, authorized return on equity, cost of debt and capital structure, expectations regarding regulatory asset and operating revenue recognition, sources of funding or capital requirements, estimates of, or expectations regarding, capital expenditures, funding needs or other capital requirements, obligations, contingencies or commitments, our expectations regarding water sources, our beliefs regarding adequacy of water supplies, our anticipation regarding renewing water supply contracts, and estimated water prices, estimated future amortization expense, estimates relating to our significant accounting policies, such as deferred revenue or assets or refund of advances, our expectations regarding stock-based compensation and estimated contributions to our pension plans and other postretirement benefit plans, our estimated annual effective tax rate and expectations regarding tax benefits, our intentions regarding use of net proceeds from any future equity or debt issuances or borrowings or our intentions or anticipations regarding our sources of funding, capital structure or capital allocation plans. The forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. They are based on numerous assumptions that we believe are reasonable, but they are open to a wide range of uncertainties and business risks. Consequently, actual results may vary materially from what is contained in a forward-looking statement.
Factors which may cause actual results to be different than those expected or anticipated include, but are not limited to:
the outcome and timeliness of regulatory commissions' actions concerning rate relief and other matters, including with respect to our 2021 GRC;
changes in regulatory commissions' policies and procedures, such as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)’s decision in 2020 to preclude companies from proposing fully decoupled WRAMs (which impacted our 2021 GRC);
our ability to collect eligible customer arrearages and program administrative costs under the California Extended Water and Wastewater Arrearages Payment Program;
our ability to invest or apply the proceeds from the issuance of common stock in an accretive manner;
governmental and regulatory commissions' decisions, including decisions on proper disposition of property;
consequences of eminent domain actions relating to our water systems;
increased risk of inverse condemnation losses as a result of climate change and drought;
changes in California State Water Resources Control Board water quality standards;
changes in environmental compliance and water quality requirements;
electric power interruptions, especially as a result of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) programs;
availability of water supplies;
housing and customer growth;
the impact of opposition to rate increases;
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our ability to recover costs;
our ability to renew leases to operate water systems owned by others on beneficial terms;
issues with the implementation, maintenance or security of our information technology systems;
civil disturbances or terrorist threats or acts;
the adequacy of our efforts to mitigate physical and cyber security risks and threats;
the ability of our enterprise risk management processes to identify or address risks adequately;
labor relations matters as we negotiate with the unions;
changes in customer water use patterns and the effects of conservation, including as a result of drought conditions;
our ability to complete, in a timely manner or at all, successfully integrate, and achieve anticipated benefits from announced acquisitions;
the impact of weather, climate change, natural disasters, and actual or threatened public health emergencies, including disease outbreaks, on our operations, water quality, water availability, water sales and operating results and the adequacy of our emergency preparedness;
restrictive covenants in or changes to the credit ratings on our current or future debt that could increase our financing costs or affect our ability to borrow, make payments on debt or pay dividends;
risks associated with expanding our business and operations geographically;
the impact of stagnating or worsening business and economic conditions, including inflationary pressures, general economic slowdown or a recession, increasing interest rates, instability of certain financial institutions, changes in monetary policy, adverse capital markets activity or macroeconomic conditions as a result of geopolitical conflicts, and the prospect of a shutdown of the U.S. federal government;
the impact of market conditions and volatility on unrealized gains or losses on our non-qualified benefit plan investments and our operating results;
the impact of weather and timing of meter reads on our accrued unbilled revenue;
the impact of evolving legal and regulatory requirements, including emerging environmental, social and governance requirements; and
the risks set forth in “Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this annual report.
In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this annual report or as of the date of any document incorporated by reference in this annual report, as applicable. When considering forward-looking statements, investors should keep in mind the cautionary statements in this annual report and the documents incorporated by reference. We are not under any obligation, and we expressly disclaim any obligation, to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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Overview
California Water Service Group (Company) is a holding company with seven operating subsidiaries: California Water Service Company (Cal Water), New Mexico Water Service Company (New Mexico Water), Washington Water Service Company (Washington Water), Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc. (Hawaii Water), TWSC, Inc. (Texas Water), and CWS Utility Services and HWS Utility Services LLC (CWS Utility Services and HWS Utility Services LLC being referred to collectively in this annual report as Utility Services). Cal Water, New Mexico Water, Washington Water, and Hawaii Water are regulated public utilities. Texas Water is a holding company with regulated and contracted wastewater utilities.
The regulated utility entities also provide some non-regulated services. Utility Services holds non-utility property and provides non-regulated services to private companies and municipalities outside of California (see "Non-Regulated Activities" below for more details). Cal Water was the original operating company that began operations in 1926.
Our business is conducted through our operating subsidiaries and we provide utility services to approximately two million people. The bulk of the business consists of the production, purchase, storage, treatment, testing, distribution, and sale of water for domestic, industrial, public, and irrigation uses, and the provision of domestic and municipal fire protection services. In some areas, we provide wastewater collection and treatment services, including treatment which allows water recycling. We also provide non-regulated water-related services under agreements with municipalities and other private companies. The non-regulated services include full water system operation, meter reading, and billing services. Non-regulated operations also include the lease of communication antenna sites, lab services, and promotion of other non-regulated services.
During the year ended December 31, 2023, there were no significant changes in the kind of products produced or services rendered by our operating subsidiaries, or in the markets or methods of distribution.
Our mailing address and contact information is:
California Water Service Group
1720 North First Street
San Jose, California 95112-4598
Telephone number: 408-367-8200
www.calwatergroup.com
Annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to these reports are available free of charge through our website at www.calwatergroup.com. The reports are available on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are filed with the SEC.
The content on any website referred to in this annual report is not incorporated by reference in this annual report unless expressly noted.
Regulated Business
California water operations are conducted by Cal Water, which provides service to approximately 497,700 customer connections in approximately 100 California communities through 21 separate districts, which are subject to regulation by the CPUC. California water operations accounted for approximately 89.5% of our total customer connections and 90.6% of our total consolidated operating revenue in 2023.
We operate the City of Hawthorne and the City of Commerce water systems under lease agreements. In accordance with the lease agreements, we receive all revenues from operating the systems and are responsible for paying the operating costs. The City of Hawthorne and the City of Commerce lease revenues are governed through their respective city councils and are considered non-regulated because they are outside of the CPUC's jurisdiction. We report revenue and expenses for the City of Hawthorne and City of Commerce leases in operating revenue and operating expenses because we are entitled to retain all customer billings and are responsible for all operating expenses. These leases are considered "nontariffed products and services" (NTPS) by the CPUC and require a 10% revenue sharing with regulated customers.





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In October of 2011, an agreement was negotiated with the City of Hawthorne to lease and operate its water system. The system, which is located near the Hermosa Redondo district, serves about half of Hawthorne's population. The capital lease agreement required an up-front $8.1 million lease deposit to the city that is being amortized over the lease term. Additionally, annual lease payments are contracted to be adjusted based on changes in rates charged to customers. Under the lease, we are responsible for all aspects of system operation and capital improvements, although title to the system and system improvements reside with the city. Capital improvements are recorded as depreciable plant and equipment and depreciated per the asset lives set forth in the agreement. In exchange, we receive all revenue from the water system, which was $12.2 million, $12.5 million, and $11.4 million in 2023, 2022, and 2021, respectively. At the end of the lease, the city is required to reimburse us for the unamortized value of capital improvements made during the term of the lease. The City of Hawthorne capital lease is a 15-year lease and expires in 2026.
In April of 2018, a renewal agreement was negotiated with the City of Commerce for us to continue to lease and to operate its water system for 15 years. Under the agreement, the operating lease requires us to pay $0.8 million per year in monthly installments. We have operated the City of Commerce water system since 1985 and are responsible for all operations, maintenance, water quality assurance, customer service programs, and financing capital improvements to provide a reliable supply of water that meets federal and state standards to customers served by the City of Commerce system. The City of Commerce retains title to the system and system improvements and remains responsible for setting its customers’ water rates. We bear the risks of operation and collection of amounts billed to customers. In exchange, we receive all revenue from the water system, which was $4.2 million, $4.2 million, and $3.4 million in 2023, 2022, and 2021, respectively. The agreement allows us to request a rate change annually in order to recover costs.
Hawaii Water provides service to approximately 6,500 water and wastewater customer connections on the islands of Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii, including several large resorts and condominium complexes. Hawaii Water's regulated customer connections are subject to the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC). Hawaii Water accounted for 1.2% of our total customer connections and approximately 5.2% of our total consolidated operating revenue in 2023.
Washington Water provides domestic water service to approximately 38,000 customer connections in the Tacoma, Olympia, Graham, Spanaway, Puyallup, Rainier, Yelm, and Gig Harbor areas. Washington Water's utility operations are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Washington Water accounted for approximately 6.8% of our total customer connections and approximately 3.0% of our total consolidated operating revenue in 2023.
New Mexico Water provides service to approximately 11,400 water and wastewater customer connections in our Rio Communities, Rio Del Oro, Meadow Lake, Indian Hills, Squaw Valley, Elephant Butte, Morningstar, Sandia Knolls, Juan Tomas, and Cypress Gardens systems. New Mexico's regulated operations are subject to the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC). New Mexico Water accounted for approximately 2.0% of our total customer connections and 0.9% of our total consolidated operating revenue in 2023.
In May of 2021, Texas Water became the majority owner of BVRT Utility Holding Company (BVRT), a Texas-based utility development company owning and operating four wastewater utilities serving growing communities outside of Austin and San Antonio. Texas Water initially invested funds to enable BVRT to continue to build wastewater infrastructure and converted its investment to equity. BVRT's four wastewater utilities currently serve or are under contract to serve approximately 2,800 customer connections. On August 16, 2022, BVRT entered into a long-term water supply agreement with the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA) that enables BVRT to receive up to 2,419 acre-feet of potable water annually (see Note 14 for more details). Texas Water accounted for approximately 0.5% of our total customer connections and 0.3% of our total consolidated operating revenue in 2023.
The state regulatory bodies governing our regulated operations are referred to as the Commissions in this annual report. Rates and operations for regulated customers are subject to the jurisdiction of the respective state's regulatory Commission. The Commissions require that water and wastewater rates for each regulated district are independently determined based on the cost of service. The Commissions are expected to authorize rates sufficient to recover normal operating expenses and allow the utility to earn a fair and reasonable return on invested capital.
We treat and distribute water and treat wastewater in accordance with accepted water utility methods. Where applicable, we hold franchises and permits in the cities and communities where we operate. The franchises and permits allow us to operate and maintain facilities in public streets and rights-of-way as necessary.
Non-Regulated Activities
Non-regulated activities consist primarily of the operation of water systems that are owned by other entities under lease agreements, leasing of communication antenna sites on our properties, and billing of optional third-party insurance programs to our residential customers.
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Fees for non-regulated activities are based on contracts negotiated between the parties. Under our non-regulated contract arrangements, we operate municipally owned water systems and privately owned water and recycled water distribution systems, but are not responsible for all operating costs. Non-regulated revenue received from non-leased water system operations is generally determined on a fee-per-customer basis.
In California, nearly all non-regulated activities are considered NTPS. The prescribed accounting for these NTPS is incremental cost allocation plus revenue sharing with regulated customers. Non-regulated services determined to be "active activities" require a 10% revenue sharing, and "passive activities" require a 30% revenue sharing. The amount of non-regulated revenues subject to revenue sharing is the total billed revenues less any authorized pass-through costs. Some examples of CPUC authorized pass-through costs are purchased water, purchased power, and pump taxes. All of our non-regulated services, except for leasing communication antenna sites on our properties, are "active activities" subject to a 10% revenue sharing. Leasing communication antenna sites on our properties are "passive activities" subject to a 30% revenue sharing. Cal Water's annual revenue sharing with regulated customers was $2.7 million, $2.7 million, and $3.1 million in 2023, 2022, and 2021, respectively.
Operating Segment
We operate in one reportable segment, the supply and distribution of water and providing water-related utility services. For information about revenue from external customers, net income attributable to California Water Service Group and total assets, see "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
Growth
We intend to continue exploring opportunities to expand our regulated and non-regulated water and wastewater activities, particularly in the western United States. The opportunities could include system acquisitions, lease arrangements similar to the City of Hawthorne and City of Commerce contracts, utility development investments similar to the BVRT investment, full service system operation and maintenance agreements, meter reading, billing contracts, customer service functions, and other utility-related services.
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Geographical Service Areas and Number of Customer Connections at Year-end
Our principal markets are users of water within our service areas. The approximate number of customer connections served in each regulated district, the City of Hawthorne and the City of Commerce, at December 31 is as follows:
(rounded to the nearest hundred)20232022
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA/NORTH COAST  
Bay Area Region (serving South San Francisco, Colma, Broadmoor, San Mateo, San Carlos, Lucerne, Duncans Mills, Guerneville, Dillon Beach, Noel Heights and portions of Santa Rosa) 56,000 56,000 
Bear Gulch (serving portions of Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley) 19,100 19,000 
Los Altos (including portions of Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Sunnyvale)19,000 19,000 
Livermore19,000 19,000 
113,100 113,000 
SACRAMENTO VALLEY  
Chico (including Hamilton City)31,500 31,300 
Oroville3,700 3,700 
Marysville3,800 3,800 
Dixon3,100 3,100 
Willows2,400 2,400 
44,500 44,300 
SALINAS VALLEY
Salinas Valley Region (including Salinas and King City)31,800 31,700 
31,800 31,700 
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY  
Bakersfield74,400 74,100 
Stockton45,200 45,200 
Visalia48,700 48,100 
Selma6,600 6,600 
Kern River Valley4,000 4,100 
178,900 178,100 
LOS ANGELES AREA
East Los Angeles26,900 27,000 
Hermosa Redondo (serving Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and a portion of Torrance)27,300 27,200 
Dominguez (Carson and portions of Compton, Harbor City, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Torrance)34,500 34,400 
Los Angeles County Region (including Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills, Fremont Valley, Lake Hughes, Lancaster and Leona Valley) 26,000 25,900 
Westlake (a portion of Thousand Oaks)7,100 7,100 
Hawthorne and Commerce (leased municipal systems)7,600 7,700 
129,400 129,300 
CALIFORNIA TOTAL497,700 496,400 
HAWAII6,500 6,200 
NEW MEXICO11,400 10,700 
WASHINGTON38,000 37,500 
TEXAS2,800 2,200 
COMPANY TOTAL556,400 553,000 
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Rates and Regulation
The Commissions have plenary powers setting both rates and operating standards. As such, the Commissions' decisions significantly impact the Company's revenues, earnings, and cash flows. The amounts discussed herein are generally annual amounts, unless otherwise stated, and the financial impact to recorded revenue is expected to occur over a 12-month period from the effective date of the decision. In California, water utilities are required to make several different types of filings. Certain filings, such as General Rate Case (GRC) filings, escalation rate increase filings, and offset filings, may result in rate changes that generally remain in place until the next GRC. As explained below, surcharges and surcredits to recover balancing and memorandum accounts as well as GRC interim rate relief are temporary rate changes, having specific time frames for recovery.
The CPUC follows a rate case plan which requires Cal Water to file a GRC for each of its regulated operating districts (except Grand Oaks, which is filed as needed) every three years. In a GRC proceeding, the CPUC not only considers the utility's rate setting requests, but may also consider other issues that affect the utility's rates and operations. The CPUC is generally required to issue its GRC decision prior to the first day of the test year or authorize interim rates and an Interim Rates Memorandum Account (IRMA). In accordance with the rate case plan, Cal Water filed its most recent GRC filing in July of 2021 (2021 GRC) requesting rate changes effective January 1, 2023. For additional information on our 2021 GRC, see "Regulatory Activity - California".
Between GRC filings, Cal Water may file escalation rate increases, which allow Cal Water to recover cost increases, primarily from inflation and incremental investments, generally during the second and third years of the rate case cycle. However, escalation rate increases are district specific and subject to an earnings test. The CPUC may reduce a district's escalation rate increase if, in the most recent 13-month period, the earnings test reflects earnings in excess of what was authorized for that district.
In addition, California water utilities are entitled to make offset requests via advice letter. Offsets may be requested to adjust revenues for construction projects authorized in GRCs or recycled water projects when those capital projects go into service (these filings are referred to as "rate base offsets"), or for rate changes charged to Cal Water for purchased water, purchased power, and pump taxes (which are referred to as "expense offsets"). Rate changes approved in offset requests remain in effect until the next GRC is approved.
In pursuit of the State of California's water conservation goals, the CPUC decoupled Cal Water's revenue requirement from customer consumption levels in 2008 by authorizing a Water Revenue Adjustment Mechanism (WRAM) and Modified Cost Balancing Account (MCBA) for each district. The WRAM and MCBA were designed to ensure that Cal Water recovers revenues authorized by the CPUC regardless of customer consumption. This removed the historical disincentive against promoting lower water usage among customers. Through an annual advice letter filing, Cal Water can seek to recover any under-collected metered revenue amounts authorized, or refund over-collected metered revenues, via surcharges and surcredits. The advice letters generally have been filed in April of each year and addressed the net WRAM and MCBA balances recorded for the previous calendar year. The majority of WRAM and MCBA balances have been collected or refunded through surcharges/surcredits over 12 and 18 month periods. The WRAM and MCBA amounts have been cumulative, so if they were not amortized in a given calendar year, the balance was carried forward and included with the following year's balance. Cal Water also had a Sales Reconciliation Mechanism (SRM) in place for 2021 and 2022 (the second and third years of its 2018 GRC), that allowed the company to adjust its adopted sales forecast if actual sales vary from adopted sales by more than 5.0% over the prior year in a district. The SRM moderates the growth of the net WRAM and MCBA balances until the next GRC.
The CPUC issued a decision effective August 27, 2020 requiring that Class A companies submitting GRC filings after the effective date be (i) precluded from proposing the use of a full decoupling WRAM in their next GRCs and (ii) allowed the use of a Monterey-Style Water Revenue Adjustment Mechanism (MWRAM). In addition, the CPUC's decision allowed for Incremental Cost Balancing Accounts (ICBAs) to replace the MCBA. The MWRAM tracks the difference between the revenue received for actual metered sales through the tiered volumetric rate and the revenue that would have been received with the same actual metered sales if a uniform rate had been in effect. The ICBA tracks differences between the authorized per-unit prices of water production costs and actual per-unit prices of water production costs. Cal Water complied with this decision in its 2021 GRC and the MWRAM and ICBAs are expected to be effective retroactive to January 1, 2023 once approved.




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In September 2020, Cal Water filed an Application for Rehearing at the CPUC seeking to reverse the August 27, 2020 CPUC decision. In September 2021, the CPUC denied the Application for Rehearing. On or about October 27, 2021, Cal Water along with four other Class A California water utilities filed Petitions for a Writ of Review with the California Supreme Court (Court). On May 18, 2022, the Court issued writs granting review and ordered the CPUC and other filing parties to submit additional pleadings to the Court. The final pleadings were submitted on January 13, 2023. Cal Water anticipates that the Court will schedule an oral argument before it begins deliberations and issues its decision.
Regulatory Activity - California
2021 GRC
On July 2, 2021, Cal Water filed its 2021 GRC requesting water infrastructure improvements of $1.0 billion in accordance with the rate case plan for all of its regulated operating districts (except Grand Oaks) for the years 2022, 2023, and 2024. Cal Water proposed rate design changes that would improve revenue stability and provide a discounted unit rate for the first six units of water per month for residential customers. This block of usage would be charged at 25% of the second tier rate. As part of the rate design changes, Cal Water has also proposed the use of a MWRAM and ICBA. In the 2021 GRC, Cal Water proposed to the CPUC to increase revenues by $80.5 million, or 11.1%, in 2023; $43.6 million, or 5.4%, in 2024; and $43.2 million, or 5.1%, in 2025 to support these investments.
On January 24, 2024, the assigned CPUC Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) issued a proposed decision (PD) on the litigated 2021 GRC, and concurrently, the assigned CPUC Commissioner issued an alternate proposed decision (APD) opposing and modifying certain decisions made by the ALJs. The PD issued by the ALJs was closer aligned to Cal Water’s requested revenue requirement whereas the APD issued by the assigned Commissioner was closer aligned to the Public Advocates’ requested revenue requirement. On February 13, 2024, Cal Water filed a request to change several elements in the PD and APD, including correction of possible 2021 GRC technical issues. We are unable to determine which of the two proposed decisions will be adopted by the CPUC, or if a second alternate proposed decision will be issued by the CPUC. As a result of the uncertainty of the decision that will ultimately be made by the CPUC, we are unable to reasonably estimate the impact on 2023 operating revenue and expenses. The 2021 GRC cumulative adjustment plus interest which is retroactive to January 1, 2023, will be recorded when the final decision is issued by the CPUC.
2021 GRC Interim Rates and IRMA
In June of 2022, Cal Water filed a motion requesting authority to increase rates by inflation on January 1, 2023 and for the establishment of an IRMA in the event the CPUC did not issue a final decision for the 2021 GRC in time for new rates to be implemented on January 1, 2023. In November of 2022, the ALJ assigned to evaluate the motion granted Cal Water's request for the IRMA but did not authorize the inflation rate increase. The IRMA tracks the difference between the current rates that continue to be billed starting January 1, 2023 (considered to be interim rates), and the rates that will eventually be approved pursuant to the CPUC's decision concerning Cal Water's 2021 GRC plus any additional revenue changes approved since July 1, 2021 (final rates). After the CPUC's decision is issued and final rates are implemented, we would then expect the balance in the IRMA to be reviewed, and customer bills to be adjusted to account for the difference between interim rates and final rates back to January 1, 2023.
In January of 2023, Cal Water filed a motion requesting a modification to the November 2022 ruling on inflationary rate increases. In the motion, Cal Water requested inflationary rate increases of 1.5% in Marysville and 4% for all other ratemaking areas besides Selma, Travis Air Force Base, and Visalia for whom a rate increase was not requested. In February of 2023, the ALJ granted Cal Water's request. Cal Water implemented the increased interim inflation rates on May 5, 2023.









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2021 Cost of Capital Application
On May 3, 2021, after an approved extension from a 2020 due date, Cal Water filed its required application with the CPUC to review its cost of capital for 2022 through 2024 (2021 Cost of Capital Application). At the time of filing, Cal Water had an approved return on equity of 9.2%, a cost of debt of 5.51%, and a capital structure of 53.4% equity and 46.6% debt. Cal Water requested a return on equity of 10.35%, a cost of debt of 4.23%, and a capital structure of 53.4% equity and 46.6% debt. The California Public Advocates Office recommended a return on equity of 7.81%, a cost of debt of 4.23%, and a capital structure of 49.4% equity and 50.6% debt. Evidentiary hearings were held in May 2022 and the case was submitted to the CPUC at the end of the second quarter of 2022. In the second quarter of 2023, the CPUC issued and adopted a proposed decision for the 2021 Cost of Capital Application. Cal Water was authorized a return on equity of 9.05%, a cost of debt of 4.23%, a capital structure of 53.4% equity and 46.6% debt, and an authorized rate of return of 6.80% for 2023 and 2024. The CPUC also reauthorized the Water Cost of Capital Mechanism (WCCM), which automatically adjusts the rate of return when the Moody's Utilities Bond Index (Index) fluctuates between cost of capital applications. Because the Index changed in 2022, the WCCM triggered for 2023. Cal Water implemented new rates based on an authorized 9.57% return on equity, with a 4.23% cost of debt, and an authorized rate of return of 7.08% on July 31, 2023. The 40 basis-point reduction from Cal Water's prior rate of return of 7.48% lowered adopted annual operating revenue as of July 31, 2023 by $7.0 million and is subject to change based on finalization of the 2021 GRC.
In October of 2023, Cal Water evaluated the WCCM for 2024 and determined that it was triggered due to a change in the Index in 2023. Cal Water filed an advice letter to implement new rates based on an authorized 10.27% return on equity, with a 4.23% cost of debt, and an authorized rate of return of 7.46% effective January 1, 2024. These new rates were implemented on January 1, 2024. We currently expect that the 38 basis-point increase from Cal Water's rate of return for the period July 31, 2023 to December 31, 2023 of 7.08% will positively impact adopted annual operating revenue for 2024 by approximately $10.0 million. This estimate is subject to change based on finalization of the 2021 GRC.
On February 2, 2024, Cal Water received a letter from the CPUC addressed jointly to Cal Water and three other Class A water companies granting their request for a one-year extension in their next cost of capital filing with the CPUC to May 1, 2025. The WCCM will remain in effect during the one-year extension. As a result, Cal Water's authorized return on equity in 2025 is expected to be 10.27% plus or minus any changes from the WCCM.
2023 Financing Application for California
On October 6, 2023, Cal Water filed a financing application with the CPUC requesting authority to issue up to $1.3 billion of new equity and debt securities, in addition to previously-authorized amounts, to finance water system infrastructure investments in 2024, 2025, and 2026. Cal Water also seeks a continuation of its existing waiver that authorizes each Cal Water borrowing under its revolving credit arrangements to be payable at periods up to twenty-four months from the date of the applicable borrowing, rather than the twelve-month period currently permitted for short-term borrowings.
Expense Offset Requests
Expense offsets are dollar-for-dollar increases in revenue to match increased expenses, and therefore do not affect net operating income. In December of 2022, Cal Water submitted an advice letter to request offsets for increases in purchased water costs and pump taxes in five of its regulated districts totaling $5.1 million. The new rates were implemented on January 1, 2023.
In July of 2023, Cal Water submitted an advice letter to request offsets for increases in purchased water costs, pump taxes, and purchased power costs in 11 of its regulated districts totaling $24.6 million. The new rates were implemented on July 31, 2023.
In November of 2023, Cal Water submitted an advice letter to request offsets for increases in purchased water costs and pump taxes in six of its regulated districts totaling $5.1 million. The new rates were implemented on January 1, 2024.
WRAM/MCBA Filings
In April and July of 2023, Cal Water submitted advice letters to true up the revenue under-collections for the 2022 annual WRAMs/MCBAs of its regulated districts. A net under-collection of $76.6 million is being recovered from customers in the form of 12, 18, and greater-than-18-month surcharges. The new surcharges incorporate net WRAM/MCBA balances that were previously approved for recovery and were implemented on May 5, 2023, except for Kern River Valley's surcharge, which was implemented on January 15, 2024. The balance also includes $1.5 million of settlement proceeds from a settled lawsuit with the Stockton East Water District related to purchased water in Stockton. Cal Water intends to pass on this benefit to its Stockton customers through a reduction of its net WRAM receivable.
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California Drought Memorandum Account (DRMA)
In June 2021, Cal Water submitted advice letters to request a DRMA to track the incremental operational and administrative costs incurred to further implement updated Rule 14.1 for voluntary conservation measures and Schedule 14.1 for implementation of our Water Shortage Contingency Plan, including activities related to enhanced conservation efforts, staffing, and capital expenditures to ensure a safe, reliable water supply. The DRMA would also track monies paid by customers for fines, penalties, or other compliance measures associated with water use violations; and penalties paid by Cal Water to its water wholesalers. The DRMA was approved by the CPUC with an effective date of June 14, 2021. As of December 31, 2023, Cal Water has incurred $2.1 million of cumulative DRMA related costs, of which $0.8 million was incurred in 2023.
California's Governor issued a drought declaration for all California counties through a series of State of Emergency Proclamations with the most recent in March 2022. Given these drought proclamations and then-existing water usage levels in all of its service areas, in 2022 Cal Water activated Stage 2 of the "Water Use Restrictions of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan" (WSCP) of Schedule 14.1 in all of its service areas; as a result, Cal Water saw an increase in DRMA related costs in 2022 and 2023.
In Stage 1, irrigating ornamental landscape with potable water is prohibited during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. For Stage 2, irrigating ornamental landscapes with potable water is limited to no more than three days per week as well as prohibited during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. In addition, this stage states that new connections may not install single-pass cooling systems for air conditioning or other cooling system applications unless required for health or safety reasons.
On March 24, 2023, the Governor issued an Executive Order (EO) that, among other things, ended the voluntary 15% water conservation target and ended the requirement that local water agencies implement Stage 2 of their drought contingency plans. This EO maintained the ban on wasteful water uses and retained the State of Emergency for all 58 California counties to allow for drought response and recovery efforts to continue.
On May 8, 2023, Cal Water deactivated Stage 2 and moved to Stage 1 of Cal Water's Schedule 14.1 in all regulated service areas.
On July 28, 2023, Cal Water submitted a Tier 3 advice letter requesting authority to amortize $1.4 million of incremental expenses incurred from June 14, 2021 to December 31, 2022 tracked in the DRMA. The effective date of the advice letter is uncertain as Tier 3 advice letters require a resolution to be adopted by the CPUC.
Drought Response Memorandum Account (DREMA)
In December of 2022, Cal Water received approval for a DREMA to track lost revenues, for potential future recovery, associated with reduced sales as a result of the activation of Rule 14.1 and Schedule 14.1 of its WSCP in all of its service territories. The request is consistent with the CPUC's drought procedures which allow companies without full decoupling mechanisms to track lost revenues, subject to a 20 basis points return on equity adjustment, associated with the reduced sales as a result of the activation of either Rule 14.1 or Schedule 14.1. As Cal Water's full decoupling mechanisms ended on December 31, 2022, the DREMA became effective as of January 1, 2023.
Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Memorandum Account (PFAS MA)
Public water systems have been ordered by the State Water Resources Control Board to detect, monitor, and report perfluorooctanoic and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid in drinking water. In the third quarter of 2020, the CPUC approved the PFAS MA which allows Cal Water to track incremental expenses related to compliance with the order. The tracking of capital costs was excluded due to the current lack of a maximum contaminant level (MCL).
In March of 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed MCLs for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In September of 2023, Cal Water filed an application with the CPUC to modify the PFAS MA to track capital related costs associated with activities necessary to comply with the proposed PFAS drinking water regulations. Cal Water also proposed to submit Tier 2 advice letters requesting authority to add completed PFAS-related capital projects to authorized rate base.
2018 GRC Conservation Expense Balancing Account (CEBA) Filing
In March of 2023, Cal Water submitted an advice letter to amortize the CEBA from the 2018 GRC that tracked the difference between adopted and actual conservation program costs for the period of 2020-2022. $6.2 million is being refunded to customers in some districts in the form of one-time or 12-month surcredits as actual conservation program costs during 2020-2022 were lower than the adopted conservation program costs. The new surcredits were implemented on May 5, 2023.
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2018 GRC Health Cost Balancing Account (HCBA) and Pension Cost Balancing Account (PCBA) Filing
In June of 2023, Cal Water submitted an advice letter to amortize the HCBA and PCBA from the 2018 GRC that tracked the difference between adopted and actual costs for the period of 2020-2022. For the HCBA, $14.0 million is expected to be refunded to customers in the form of one-time or 12-month surcredits as actual employee and retiree medical costs during 2020-2022 were lower than the adopted employee and retiree medical costs. For the PCBA, $17.4 million is expected to be recovered from customers in the form of one-time or 12-month surcharges as actual costs for employee pension benefits during 2020-2022 were higher than the adopted employee pension benefit costs. The new rates were implemented on July 31, 2023.
City of Hawthorne GRC Filing
In June of 2023, the City of Hawthorne approved Cal Water's water rate increase proposal for 2023-2026. Cal Water was approved to increase total revenue by $0.9 million incrementally over four years. Revenue is scheduled to increase by 1.5% in 2023, 1.9% in 2024, 1.6% in 2025, and 2.3% in 2026. The 2023 increase was implemented on July 1, 2023. Cal Water was also approved to establish a Full Cost Balancing Account to track differences between adopted and actual water production costs.
Palos Verdes Peninsula Water Reliability Project (Project)
In 2002, Cal Water commissioned a Water System Master Plan (Master Plan) for the Palos Verdes water system. The Master Plan identified the high-priority need to augment the existing potable water system with new transmission mains and a new pump station to improve the capacity and reliability of the water system. This resulted in the development of a capital project known as the Project. Before the Project, a single pipeline that is over 60 years old delivered potable water to approximately 90 percent of the Peninsula, and a second pipeline of the same age delivered water to the remaining 10 percent. Both of these pipelines were approaching the end of their useful lives.
The CPUC authorized Cal Water to recover revenue associated with costs up to a cap of $96.1 million after the Project was in service, subject to the CPUC's reasonableness review. In 2020, the Project was completed and Advice Letter 2387 was filed asking for authority to increase rates reflecting the Project costs up to the cap, with an effective date of August 27, 2020. The advice letter was approved on January 29, 2021. New rates were implemented on February 1, 2021, with the revenue requirement being effective as of August 27, 2020.
Due to the complexity of the Project, total project costs exceeded the advice letter cap of $96.1 million. Total project costs incurred as of the end of 2023 were $117.2 million. Amongst other things, the 2021 GRC requested an additional $6.4 million of capital costs to be included in base rates plus authority to open a memorandum account allowing Cal Water to track incremental capital-related costs associated with this project. The remaining $14.7 million of capital costs not in base rates will be applied for in a future rate proceeding or tracked in the memorandum account for possible future recovery.
Regulatory Activity - Other States
2023 Washington Water GRC (Washington Water)
On April 10, 2023, Washington Water filed a GRC application with the UTC requesting an annual revenue increase of $3.0 million for its East Pierce water system phased in over two years and an annual revenue increase of $0.6 million for its legacy Washington Water system. In July of 2023, the UTC approved an annual revenue increase of $2.1 million. Washington Water implemented the new rates on July 28, 2023.
Pukalani GRC (Hawaii Water)
On October 30, 2023, HPUC approved Pukalani's GRC application that was filed in 2022. The approval increased annual revenues by $0.4 million to be implemented at $0.2 million each year for the next two years. The new rates were implemented on December 1, 2023.
HOH Utilities Company (Hawaii Water)
In December of 2023, Hawaii Water closed on the acquisition of assets of HOH Utilities Company, a wastewater utility located in the growing Poipu/Koloa area of Kauai County on the island of Kauai.
The acquisition of HOH Utilities Company's wastewater system assets added 1,800 residential, commercial and resort customers, including three hotels, condominiums, multi-family housing, single-family homes and a golf course to the customer base of Hawaii Water.


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Kaanapali GRC (Hawaii Water)
On February 1, 2024, Hawaii Water filed a GRC application with the HPUC requesting an annual revenue increase of $0.6 million. Hawaii Water is requesting a fourth quarter of 2024 effective date for new rates.
Water Supply
Our source of supply varies among our operating districts. Certain districts obtain all of their supply from wells; some districts purchase all of their supply from wholesale suppliers; and other districts obtain supply from a combination of wells and wholesale suppliers. A small portion of supply comes from surface sources and is processed through Company-owned water treatment plants. To the best of management's knowledge, we are meeting water quality, environmental, and other regulatory standards for all Company-owned systems.
Historically, approximately half of our annual water supply is pumped from wells. State groundwater management agencies operate differently in each state. Some of our wells extract ground water from water basins under state ordinances. These are adjudicated groundwater basins, in which a court has settled the dispute between landowners, or other parties over how much annual groundwater can be extracted by each party. All of our adjudicated groundwater basins are located in the State of California. Our annual groundwater extraction from adjudicated groundwater basins approximates 6.7 billion gallons or 13.1% of our total annual water supply pumped from wells. Historically, we have extracted less than 100% of our annual adjudicated groundwater rights and have the right to carry forward up to 20% of the unused amount to the next annual period. All of our remaining wells extract ground water from managed or unmanaged water basins. There are no set limits for the ground water extracted from these water basins. Our annual groundwater extraction from managed groundwater basins approximates 29.7 billion gallons or 57.6% of our total annual water supply pumped from wells. Our annual groundwater extraction from unmanaged groundwater basins approximates 15.1 billion gallons or 29.3% of our total annual water supply pumped from wells. Most of the managed groundwater basins we extract water from have groundwater recharge facilities. We are required to financially support these groundwater recharge facilities by paying well pump taxes. Our well pump taxes for 2023, 2022, and 2021 were $19.0 million, $16.2 million, and $15.3 million, respectively. In 2014, the State of California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGM Act). The law and its implementing regulations required most basins to select a sustainability agency by 2017, develop a sustainability plan by the end of 2022, and show progress toward sustainability by 2027. We expect that after the SGM Act's provisions are fully implemented, substantially all the Company's California groundwater will be produced from sustainably managed and adjudicated basins.
California's normal weather pattern yields little precipitation between mid-spring and mid-fall. The Washington Water service areas receive precipitation in all seasons, with the heaviest amounts during the winter. New Mexico Water's rainfall is heaviest in the summer monsoon season. Hawaii Water receives precipitation throughout the year, with the largest amounts in the winter months. Typically water usage in all service areas is highest during the warm and dry summers and declines in the cool winter months. Rain and snow during the winter months in California replenish underground water aquifers and fill reservoirs, providing the water supply for subsequent delivery to customers. As of February 22, 2024, the State of California snowpack water content during the 2023-2024 water year was 99% of long-term averages (per the California Department of Water Resources, Northern Sierra Precipitation Accumulation report). The northern Sierra region is the most important for the state's urban water supplies. The central and southern portions of the Sierras have recorded 82% and 80%, respectively, of long-term averages. Management believes that supply pumped from underground aquifers and purchased from wholesale suppliers will be adequate to meet customer demand during 2024 and thereafter. Long-term water supply plans are developed for each of our districts to help assure an adequate water supply under various operating and supply conditions. Some districts have unique challenges in meeting water quality standards, but management believes that supplies will meet current standards using currently available treatment processes.
On May 31, 2018, California's Governor signed two bills (Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606) into law that were intended to establish long-term standards for water use efficiency. The bills revise and expand the existing urban water management plan requirements to include five-year drought risk assessments, water shortage contingency plans, and annual water supply/demand assessments. The California State Water Resources Control Board, in conjunction with the California Department of Water Resources, is expected to establish long-term water use standards for indoor residential use, outdoor residential use, water losses, and other uses. Cal Water will also be required to calculate and report on its urban water use targets by November 1 of each year, that compares actual urban water use to the targets. Management believes that Cal Water is well positioned to comply with all such regulations.
In March of 2023, the EPA issued proposed MCLs for six PFAS. Based on current information, if the regulation is adopted in its current form, we expect that we would have three years to comply with the final PFAS regulations and we estimate that capital investments of approximately $215.0 million would be required to comply.
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The following table shows the estimated quantity of water purchased and the percentage of purchased water to total water production in each California operating district that purchased water in 2023. Other than noted below, all other districts receive 100% of their water supply from wells.
DistrictWater
Purchased
(MG)
Percentage
of Total
Water
Production
Source of Purchased Supply
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA/NORTH COAST   
Bay Area Region*6,275 98.9 %San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District
Bear Gulch3,561 100.0 %San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Los Altos2,147 63.6 %
Valley Water
Livermore1,777 67.5 %Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Zone 7
SACRAMENTO VALLEY   
Oroville668 89.7 %Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and County of Butte
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY   
Bakersfield9,811 55.0 %Kern County Water Agency and City of Bakersfield
Stockton6,462 88.9 %Stockton East Water District
LOS ANGELES AREA   
East Los Angeles586 14.0 %Central Basin Municipal Water District
Dominguez8,108 78.4 %West Basin Municipal Water District and City of Torrance
City of Commerce361 49.5 %Central Basin Municipal Water District
City of Hawthorne1,059 89.1 %West Basin Municipal Water District
Hermosa Redondo2,901 90.2 %West Basin Municipal Water District
Los Angeles County Region**4,451 97.0 %West Basin Municipal Water District and Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency
Westlake1,794 100.0 %Calleguas Municipal Water District and Triunfo Water and Sanitation District
Kern River Valley53 22.8 %City of Bakersfield
_______________________________________________________________________________
MG = million gallons
* Bay Area Region includes Bayshore and Redwood Valley
** Los Angeles County Region includes Palos Verdes and Antelope Valley
The Bear Gulch district obtains a portion of its water supply from surface runoff from the local watershed. The Oroville district in the Sacramento Valley, the Bakersfield district in the San Joaquin Valley, and the Kern River Valley district in the Los Angeles Area purchase water from a surface supply. Surface sources are processed through our water treatment plants before being delivered to the distribution system. The Bakersfield district also purchases treated water as a component of its water supply.
The Chico, Marysville, Dixon, and Willows districts in the Sacramento Valley, the Salinas Valley Region district in the Salinas Valley, the Selma and Visalia districts in the San Joaquin Valley, and the Travis Air Force Base in Solano County obtain their entire supply from wells.
Purchases for the Los Altos, Livermore, Oroville, Redwood Valley, Stockton, and Bakersfield districts are pursuant to long-term contracts expiring on various dates after 2023. The water supplies purchased for the Dominguez, East Los Angeles, Hermosa Redondo, Palos Verdes, and Westlake districts as well as the Hawthorne and Commerce systems are provided by public agencies pursuant to a statutory obligation of continued non-preferential service to purveyors within the agencies' boundaries. Purchases for the Bayshore and Bear Gulch districts are in accordance with long-term contracts with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) until June 30, 2034.
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Management anticipates water supply contracts will be renewed as they expire though the price of wholesale water purchases is anticipated to increase in the future.
Shown below are wholesaler price rates and increases that became effective in 2023, and estimated wholesaler price rates and percent changes for 2024. In 2023, several districts experienced purchased water rate increases, resulting in the filing of several purchased water offsets.
20232024
DistrictEffective
 Month
Unit CostPercent
Change
Effective
 Month
Unit CostPercent
 Change
AntelopeJuly$752.00 /af7.6%July$809.00 /af7.6%
Bakersfield (1)July$195.00 /af8.9%January$195.00 /af
Bear GulchJuly$5.21 /ccf9.7%January$5.21 /ccf
Commerce (2)January$1,379.00 /af5.0%January$1,426.00 /af3.4%
Dominguez (2)July$1,605.00 /af7.0%January$1,677.00 /af4.5%
East Los Angeles (2)January$1,379.00 /af5.0%January$1,426.00 /af3.4%
Hawthorne (2)July$1,605.00 /af7.0%January$1,677.00 /af4.5%
Hermosa-Redondo (2)July$1,605.00 /af7.0%January$1,677.00 /af4.5%
LivermoreFebruary$2.27 /ccf10.2%January$2.34 /ccf3.1%
Los AltosJuly$2,089.00 /af13.6%January$2,089.00 /af
Oroville (2)April$216,068 /yr8.0%January$216,068 /yr—%
Palos Verdes (2)July$1,605.00 /af7.0%January$1,677.00 /af4.5%
Mid-PeninsulaJuly$5.21 /ccf9.7%January$5.21 /ccf
Redwood ValleyJanuary$69.24 /afJanuary$69.24 /af
South San FranciscoJuly$5.21 /ccf9.7%January$5.21 /ccf
StocktonOctober$931,190 /mo1.4%January$931,190 /mo
WestlakeJanuary$1,632.00 /af4.5%January$1,730.00 /af6.0%

_______________________________________________________________________________
af = acre foot;
ccf = hundred cubic feet;
yr = fixed annual cost;
mo = fixed monthly cost
(1)untreated water
(2)wholesaler price changes occur every six months
We work with all local suppliers and agencies responsible for water supply to enable adequate, long-term supply for each system.
See Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Water Supply" for more information on adequacy of supplies.
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Seasonal Fluctuations
In California, our customers' consumption pattern of water varies with the weather, in terms of rainfall and temperature. When setting customer rates, the CPUC considers the historical pattern in determining the adopted sales and production costs. With a majority of our sales expected to be subject to the MWRAM and per-unit variations in production costs being covered by the ICBA, fluctuations in financial results are expected to be moderated once the MWRAM and ICBA mechanisms are approved by the CPUC. However, cash flows from operations and short-term borrowings on our credit facilities can be significantly impacted by seasonal fluctuations including recovery of the MWRAM and ICBA.
Our water business is seasonal in nature. Weather conditions can have a material effect on customer usage. Customer demand for water generally is lower during the cooler and rainy winter months. Demand increases in the spring when warmer weather returns and the rains end, and customers use more water for outdoor purposes such as landscape irrigation. Warm temperatures during the generally dry summer months result in increased demand. Water usage declines during the late fall as temperatures decrease and the rainy season begins. During years in which precipitation is especially heavy or extends beyond the spring into the early summer, customer demand can decrease from historic normal levels, generally due to reduced outdoor water usage. Likewise, an early start to the rainy season during the fall can cause a decline in customer usage. As a result, seasonality of water usage has a significant impact on our cash flows from operations and borrowing on our short-term facilities.
Utility Plant Construction
We have continually extended, enlarged, and replaced our facilities as required to meet increasing demands and to maintain our water systems. We obtain construction financing using funds from operations, long-term financing, advances for construction and contributions in aid of construction that are funded by developers. Advances for construction are cash deposits from developers for construction of water facilities or water facilities deeded from developers. These advances are generally refundable without interest over a period of 40 years in equal annual payment amounts and developer-installed facilities are exempt from corporate income taxes. Contributions in aid of construction consist of nonrefundable cash deposits or facilities transferred from developers, primarily for fire protection and relocation projects. We cannot control the amounts received from developers. This amount fluctuates from year-to-year as the level of construction activity carried on by developers varies. This activity is impacted by the demand for housing, commercial development, and general business conditions, including interest rates.
See Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources" for additional information.
Energy Reliability
We continue to seek to use power efficiently to minimize the power expenses passed on to our customers, and maintain backup power systems to continue water service to our customers if the power companies' supplies are interrupted. If future legislation limits emissions from the power generation process, our cost of power may increase. Any increase in the per-unit cost of power would be expected to be passed along to our California customers through the ICBA or included in our cost of service paid by our customers as requested in our GRC filings. Many of our well sites are equipped with emergency electric generators designed to produce electricity to keep the wells operating during power outages. Storage tanks also provide customers with water during blackout periods.
During 2023, 2022, and 2021 we leased additional emergency generators to respond to potential PSPSs, an electric utility operating paradigm approved by the CPUC.
Security at Company Facilities
Due to terrorism and other risks, we have heightened security at our facilities and have taken added precautions to protect our employees and the water delivered to customers. In 2002, federal legislation was enacted that resulted in new regulations concerning security of water facilities, including submitting vulnerability assessment studies to the federal government. We have complied with regulations issued by the EPA pursuant to federal legislation concerning vulnerability assessments and have made filings to the EPA as required. In addition, communication plans have been developed as a component of our procedures.
In accordance with the 2018 America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA), we are required to conduct additional risk and resilience assessments (RRAs) and develop emergency response plans (ERPs) for each of our water systems. These RRAs and ERPs include natural hazards as well as malevolent acts. The first such assessments were completed in 2020. The RRAs are scheduled to be reviewed and resubmitted every five years.
While we do not make public comments on our security programs, we have been in contact with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate and improve our water delivery systems' security.
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Competition and Condemnation
Our principal operations are regulated by the Commission of each state. Under state laws, no privately owned public utility may compete within any service territory that we already serve without first obtaining a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the applicable Commission. Issuance of such a certificate would only be made upon finding that our service is deficient. To management's knowledge, no application to provide service to an area served by us has been made.
State law in California provides that whenever a public agency constructs facilities to extend a utility system into the service area of a privately owned public utility, such an act constitutes the taking of property and requires reimbursement to the utility for its loss. State law in Washington and other states recognize chartered service areas but do not have specific statutes. State statutes allow municipalities, water districts and other public agencies to own and operate water systems. These agencies are empowered to condemn properties already operated by privately owned public utilities. The agencies are also authorized to issue bonds, including revenue bonds, for the purpose of acquiring or constructing water systems. However, if a public agency were to acquire utility property by eminent domain action, the utility would be entitled to just compensation for its loss. In Washington, annexation was approved in February 2008 for property served by us on Orcas Island; however, we continue to serve the customers in the annexed area and do not expect the annexation to affect our operations. To management's knowledge, other than the Orcas Island property, no municipality, water district, or other public agency is contemplating or has any action pending to acquire or condemn any of our systems.
Government Regulations
Our water and wastewater services are governed by various federal and state environmental protection, health and safety laws, and regulations. These provisions establish criteria for drinking water and for discharges of water, wastewater, and airborne substances. The EPA, state water quality regulators, and other state regulatory authorities promulgate numerous nationally and locally applicable standards, including MCLs for drinking water. We believe we are currently in compliance with all of the MCLs promulgated to date.
Environmental Matters
Our operations are subject to environmental regulation by various governmental authorities. Environmental health and safety programs have been designed to provide compliance with water discharge regulations, underground and above-ground fuel storage tank regulations, hazardous materials management plans, hazardous waste regulations, air quality permitting requirements, wastewater discharge limitations, and employee safety issues related to hazardous materials. In addition, we actively investigate alternative technologies for meeting environmental regulations and continue the traditional practices of meeting environmental regulations.
For a description of the material effects that compliance with environmental regulations may have on us, see Item 1A. "Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Regulatory Environment." We expect environmental regulation to increase, resulting in higher operating costs in the future, and there can be no assurance that the Commissions would approve rate increases to enable us to recover these additional compliance costs.
Quality of Water Supply
Our operating practices are designed to produce potable water in accordance with accepted water utility practices. Water entering the distribution systems from surface sources is treated in compliance with federal and state Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) standards. Most well supplies are chlorinated or chloraminated for disinfection. Water samples from each water system are analyzed on a regular, scheduled basis in compliance with regulatory requirements. We operate a state-certified water quality laboratory at the San Jose Customer Support Services Office that provides testing for most of our California operations. Certain tests in California are contracted with independent certified labs qualified under the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. Local independent state certified labs provide water sample testing for the Washington, New Mexico, and Hawaii operations.
In recent years, federal and state water quality regulations have resulted in increased water sampling requirements. The SDWA continues to be used to monitor and regulate additional potential contaminants to address public health concerns. The State of California has continued to adopt new water quality regulations, which may be in addition to those adopted by the EPA. We monitor water quality standard changes and upgrade our treatment capabilities to maintain compliance with the various regulations.

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Impact of Climate Change Legislation and Regulation
Our operations depend on power provided by other public utilities and, in emergencies, power generated by our portable and fixed generators. If future legislation limits emissions from the power generation process, our cost of power may increase. Any increase in the cost of power would be expected to be passed along to our California customers through the ICBA or included in our cost of service paid by our customers as requested in our GRC filings.
We maintain a fleet of vehicles to provide service to our customers, including a number of passenger vehicles, as well as heavy-duty diesel vehicles that were retrofitted to meet California emission standards. If future legislation affects the cost to operate the fleet or the fleet acquisition cost in order to meet certain emission standards and/or requirements to phase-in the use of zero-emission vehicles, it would increase our cost of service and our rate base. Any increase in fleet operating costs associated with meeting emission standards and/or requirements to phase-in the use of zero-emission vehicles would be expected to be included in our cost of service paid by our customers as requested in our GRC filings. While recovery of these costs is not guaranteed, we would expect recovery in the regulatory process.
Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), all capital projects of a certain type (primarily wells, tanks, major pipelines, and treatment facilities) require mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. The cost to prepare the CEQA documentation and permit are expected to be included in our capital cost and added to our rate base, which is expected to be requested to be paid for by our customers. Any increase in the operating cost of the facilities would also be expected to be included in our cost of service paid by our customers as requested in our GRC filings. While recovery of these costs is not guaranteed, we would expect recovery in the regulatory process.
Cap and trade regulations were implemented in 2012 with the goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. These regulations have not affected water utilities at this time. In the future, if we are required to comply with these regulations, any increase in operating costs associated with meeting these standards would be included in our cost of service paid by our customers as requested in our GRC filings. While recovery of these costs is not guaranteed, we would expect recovery in the regulatory process.
We currently publicly disclose information about our climate change strategy, risks, metrics, and targets. If future legislation or regulation requires new or additional reporting on our climate change strategy, risks, metrics, and/or targets, our cost to gather and report that information in accordance with the legislation or regulation may increase, and we may be subject to litigation, enforcement proceedings, fines or other penalties if we are unable to comply in part or in whole, or if our efforts are deemed insufficient.
Human Capital Resources
We believe our employees are our most valuable asset and are critical to our continued success. We focus our attention on attracting and retaining talented and experienced individuals to manage and support our operations. We offer our employees a broad range of Company-paid benefits, and we believe our compensation package and benefits are competitive with others in our industry. Additional information about our employee benefit plans is included in Note 11 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
We are committed to hiring, developing, and supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace. Our employees are expected to exhibit and promote honest, ethical, and respectful conduct. All of our employees must adhere to a business code of conduct that sets standards for appropriate behavior and ethics and includes required internal training on preventing, identifying, reporting, and stopping any type of discrimination.
Employee health and safety in the workplace is one of the Company's core values. Safety efforts are led by the Executive Safety Committee and supported by safety committees that operate at the local level. Hazards in the workplace are actively identified and management tracks incidents so remedial actions can be taken to improve workplace safety.
As evidenced by our internally created Future Leaders of Water Development Program, our management team supports a culture of developing future leaders from our existing workforce, enabling us to promote from within for many leadership positions. We believe this provides long-term focus and continuity to our operations while also providing opportunities for the growth and advancement of our employees. Our focus on retention is evident in the length of service of our management team. The average tenure of our management team is over 10 years.




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Employee levels are managed to align with the pace of business and management believes it has sufficient human capital to operate its business successfully. Management believes that the Company's employee relations are favorable. At December 31, 2023, we had 1,266 employees, including 1,118 at Cal Water, 82 at Washington Water, 48 at Hawaii Water, 18 at New Mexico Water, and no employees at Texas Water. In California, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO represents our non-exempt field, customer service, and non-confidential clerical employees and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), AFL-CIO represents our professional and technical engineering and water quality laboratory employees.
As of December 31, 2023, we had 667 employees represented by the UWUA and 90 employees represented by the IFPTE. In 2021, we reached a six-year agreement with both unions on a new contract that runs from May 14, 2021 (UWUA) and October 4, 2021 (IFPTE) through February 28, 2027. We believe this agreement continues to provide our employees with a market competitive pay and benefits package.
Employees at Hawaii Water, Washington Water, and New Mexico Water are not represented by a labor union.
Information About Our Executive Officers
NamePositions and Offices with California Water Service GroupAge
Martin A. Kropelnicki (1)
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer since June 1, 2023. Formerly, President and Chief Executive Officer (2013-2023), President and Chief Operating Officer (2012-2013), Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer (2006-2012), served as Chief Financial Officer of Power Light Corporation (2005-2006), Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Corporate Services of Hall Kinion and Associates (1997-2004), Deloitte & Touche Consulting (1996-1997), held various positions with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (1989-1996).
57 
David B. Healey (2)
Principal Financial Officer since January 3, 2024. Formerly, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer (2023-2024), Vice President, Corporate Controller and Assistant Treasurer (2015-2023), Corporate Controller and Assistant Treasurer (2012-2014), Director of Financial Reporting (2009-2012), served as Subsidiary Controller for SunPower Corporation (2005-2009), Corporate Controller for Hall, Kinion & Associates, Inc. (1997-2005), held various positions with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (1985-1997).
67 
James P. Lynch (2)
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since January 3, 2024. Formerly, Manager of Special Projects (2023), Chief Accounting Officer for SJW Group, a water utility company (2022-2023), Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for SJW Group (2010-2022), Audit Partner with KPMG LLP (1997-2010), held various other positions with KPMG LLP (1984-1997). Certified public accountant.
64 
Michael B. Luu (2)
Senior Vice President, Corporate Services & Chief Risk Officer since June 1, 2023. Formerly, Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Risk Officer (2021-2023), Vice President of Customer Service and Chief Information Officer (2017-2020), Vice President of Customer Service and Information Technology (2013-2016), Acting California Water Service Company District Manager, Los Altos (2012-2013), Director of Information Technology (2008-2012), CIS Development Manager (2005-2008), held various other positions with California Water Service Company since 1999.
44 
Shawn C. Bunting (2)
Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Business Development since January 1, 2024. Formerly, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (2023), Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for American Water Works Company, Inc., a water utility holding company (2021-2022), Vice President and Deputy General Counsel (2015-2021), Vice President & Division General Counsel – Eastern Division (2015-2016), Vice President & Division General Counsel – Mid-Atlantic Division (2014-2015), held other various positions with American Water Works Company, Inc. (2008-2014), Assistant General Counsel (Director) at Allegheny Energy, Inc. (2005-2008), and attorney at K&L Gates LLP (1998-2005).
51 
Shannon C. Dean (2)
Senior Vice President, Customer Service & Chief Sustainability Officer since January 1, 2024. Formerly, Vice President, Customer Service and Chief Citizenship Officer (2021-2023), Vice President of Corporate Communications & Community Affairs (2015-2020), Director of Corporate Communications (2000-2014), held various corporate communications, government, and community relations positions for Dominguez Water Company (1991-1999).
56 
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NamePositions and Offices with California Water Service GroupAge
Michael S. Mares, Jr (2)
Senior Vice President, Operations since January 1, 2024. Formerly, Vice President, Operations (2021-2023), Vice President, California Operations (2019-2020), California Water Service Company District Manager, Bakersfield (2017-2018), Hawaii Water Service Company General Manager (2014-2016), Hawaii Water Service Company Local Manager, Big Island (2012-2014), California Water Service Company, held various Superintendent positions in the Chico district (2002-2012), California Water Service Company, held various union positions in the Chico district (1992-2002).
57 
Ronald D. Webb (2)Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer since January 1, 2022. Formerly, Vice President of Human Resources (2014-2021), Managing Director, Human Resources Partner for United Airlines (2006-2014), served as Vice President of Human Resources for Black & Decker Corporation (1995-2005), Human Resource Manager for General Electric Company (1990-1994), and held various labor relations positions for National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (1982-1989).67 
Michelle R. Mortensen (2)
Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Chief of Staff since January 1, 2022. Formerly, Vice President, Corporate Secretary (2021), Corporate Secretary (2015-2020), Assistant Corporate Secretary (2014), Treasury Manager (2012-2013), Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer (2011), Regulatory Accounting Manager (2008-2010), held various accounting positions at Piller Data Systems (2006-2007), Hitachi Global Storage (2005), Abbot Laboratories (2002-2004), and Symantec (1998-2001).
49 
Elissa Y. Ouyang (2)Vice President, Facilities, Fleet and Procurement since January 1, 2022. Formerly, Chief Procurement and Lead Continuous Improvement Officer (2016-2021), Interim Procurement Director (2013-2016), Acting District Manager - Los Altos (2013), Interim Vice President of Information Technology (2012-2013), Director of Information Technology - Architecture and Security (2008-2012), Business Application Manager (2003-2007), Project Lead/Senior Developer (2001-2003), held various business consulting positions at KPMG Consulting/BearingPoint (1998-2001), and RR Donnelley (1996-1998).55 
Greg A. Milleman (2)Vice President, Rates & Regulatory Affairs since January 1, 2022. Formerly, Vice President, California Rates (2019-2021), Interim Director of Rates (2017-2018), Director of Field Administration & Finance (2014-2017), Manager of Special Projects (2013), and served as Senior Vice President of Administration and Corporate Secretary and various other management positions for Valencia Water Company (1992-2013).61 
Thomas A. Scanlon (2)Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Officer since January 1, 2023. Formerly, Director of Financial Reporting (2010-2022), Subsidiary Controller at Sun Power Systems Corporation (2007-2010), and Regional Controller at Swinerton Builders, Inc. (2000-2007).61 
Sophie M. James (2)
Vice President, Water Quality & Environmental Affairs since January 1, 2024. Formerly, Chief Water Quality Officer (2022-2023), Director of Water Quality (2014-2021), Manager of Laboratory Service (2006-2013), and Environmental Chemist, City of Sunnyvale (1992-2006).
55 
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1)Holds the same position with California Water Service Company, CWS Utility Services, Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc., New Mexico Water Service Company, and TWSC, Inc.; Chief Executive Officer of Washington Water Service Company.
(2)Holds the same position with California Water Service Company, CWS Utility Services, Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc., New Mexico Water Service Company, Washington Water Service Company, and TWSC, Inc.
Item 1A.    Risk Factors.
In evaluating our business, you should carefully consider the following discussion of material risks, events, and uncertainties that make an investment in us speculative or risky in addition to the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. A manifestation of any of the following risks and uncertainties could, in circumstances we may or may not be able to accurately predict, materially and adversely affect our business, growth, reputation, prospects, operating and financial results, financial condition, cash flows, liquidity, and stock price. We note these factors for investors as permitted by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. It is not possible to predict or identify all such factors; our operations could also be affected by factors, events or uncertainties that are not presently known to us or that we currently do not consider to present significant risks to our operations. Therefore, you should not consider the following risks to be a complete statement of all the potential risks or uncertainties that we face.

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Risks Related to Our Regulatory Environment
Our business is heavily regulated by state and federal regulatory agencies and our financial viability depends upon our ability to recover costs and investments from our customers through rates that must be approved by state public utility commissions.
Cal Water, New Mexico Water, Washington Water, and Hawaii Water are regulated public utilities, which provide water and water-related service to our customers. Additionally, Hawaii Water and Texas Water own in whole or in part other companies which are regulated public utilities. The rates that we charge our water customers are subject to the jurisdiction of the regulatory Commissions in the states in which we operate. These Commissions may set water and water-related rates for each operating district independently because the systems are not interconnected. The Commissions authorize us to charge rates that they consider sufficient to recover normal operating expenses, to provide funds for adding new or replacing water infrastructure, and to allow us the opportunity to earn what the Commissions consider to be a fair and reasonable return on invested capital.
Our revenues and consequently our ability to meet our financial objectives are dependent upon the rates we are authorized to charge our customers by the Commissions and our ability to recover our costs in these rates. Our management uses forecasts, models and estimates in order to set rates that we believe will provide a fair and reasonable return on our invested capital. While our rates must be approved by the Commissions, no assurance can be given that our forecasts, models and estimates will be correct or that the Commissions will agree with our forecasts, models, and estimates. If our rates are set too low, our revenues may be insufficient to cover our operating expenses, capital expenditure requirements and desired dividend levels.
We periodically file rate increase applications with the Commissions. The ensuing administrative and hearing process may be lengthy and costly. The decisions of the Commissions are beyond our control and we can provide no assurances that our rate increase requests will be granted by the Commissions. Even if approved, there is no guarantee that approval will be given in a timely manner or at a sufficient level to cover our expenses and provide a reasonable return on our investment. If the rate increase decisions are delayed or approved at a level that is lower than what we have requested, our earnings may be adversely affected. For example, the CPUC has not issued its final decision on our 2021 GRC, which has resulted in lower revenues in 2023 and is leading to financial and operating uncertainty for the Company. Our ability to execute on our business strategy is expected to be adversely impacted if the CPUC issues a final decision on our 2021 GRC that results in approving lower rate increases than what we have requested.
Our evaluation of the probability of recovery of regulatory assets is subject to adjustment by regulatory agencies and any such adjustment could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Regulatory decisions may affect prospective revenues and earnings and the timing of the recognition of revenues and expenses and may overturn past decisions used in determining our revenues and expenses. While our management evaluates the anticipated recovery of regulatory assets and revenues subject to refund and provides for allowances and/or reserves as deemed necessary, no assurance can be given that any such allowances and/or reserves will be adequate to cover any loss or adjustment due to the absence of our limited recovery of regulatory assets and revenues as a result of regulatory decisions. Current accounting procedures allow us to defer certain costs if we believe it is probable that we will be allowed to recover those costs through future rate increases. If the Commissions determined that a portion of our assets were not recoverable in customer rates, we may suffer an asset impairment, which would require a write down in such asset's valuation that would be recorded through operations.
If our assessment as to the probability of recovery through the ratemaking process is later determined to be incorrect, the associated regulatory asset would be adjusted to reflect the change in our assessment of any regulatory disallowances. A change in our evaluation of the probability of recovery of regulatory assets or a regulatory disallowance of all or a portion of our cost could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.
Regulatory agencies may disagree with our valuation and characterization of certain of our assets.
If we determine that assets are no longer used or useful for utility operations, we may remove them from our rate base and subsequently sell those assets with any gain on sales accruing to the stockholders, subject to certain conditions. If the Commissions disagree with our characterization, there is a risk that the Commissions could determine that realized appreciation in property value should be awarded to customers rather than our stockholders.



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Changes in laws, rules, and policies of our regulators or operating jurisdictions can significantly affect our business.
Regulatory agencies may change their rules and policies for various reasons, including changes in the local political environment. Regulators are elected by popular vote or are appointed by elected officials, and the election of a new administration or the appointment of new officials due to the results of elections may result in dramatic change to the long-established rules and policies of an agency. For example, in 2020 regulation regarding full decoupling WRAMs changed in California. Since 2008, the CPUC allowed full decoupling WRAMs. However, in 2020, the CPUC precluded companies from proposing full decoupling WRAMs in their next GRC filings. As a result, we have been precluded from recording WRAM revenue since the conclusion of the WRAM as of December 31, 2022.
We rely on policies and regulations promulgated by the various state commissions in order to recover capital expenditures, maintain favorable treatment on gains from the sale of real property, offset certain production and operating costs, recover the cost of debt, maintain an optimal equity structure without over-leveraging, and have financial and operational flexibility to engage in non-regulated operations. If any of the Commissions with jurisdiction over us implements policies and regulations that do not allow us to accomplish some or all of the items listed above, our future operating results may be adversely affected.
In addition, legislatures may repeal, relax or tighten existing laws, or enact new laws that affect the regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over our business or affect our business directly. If changes in existing laws or the implementation of new laws limit our ability to accomplish some of our business objectives, or make accomplishing such objectives more expensive, our future operating results may be adversely affected.
Finally, local jurisdictions may impose new ordinances, laws, fees, and regulations that could increase costs or limit our operations, which affect future operating results. Cities may impose or amend franchise requirements, impose conditions on underground construction or land use, impose various taxes and fees, or restrict our hours for construction, among other things. In the last decade, more cities have imposed excavation moratoria or paving rules, which has required more costly construction than anticipated.
We expect environmental health and safety regulation to increase, resulting in higher operating costs in the future and the potential that the company fails to meet these regulatory standards.
Our water and wastewater services are governed by various federal and state environmental protection, health and safety laws, and regulations. Although we have a water quality assurance program in place, we cannot guarantee that we will continue to comply with all standards. If we violate any federal or state regulations or laws governing health and safety, we could be subject to substantial fines or otherwise sanctioned, subject to potential civil liability for damages, and our customers' trust in our operations ability could be eroded.
Environmental health and safety laws are complex and change frequently. They have tended to become more stringent over time. As new or stricter standards are introduced, our operating costs could increase. Although we would likely seek permission to recover these costs through rate increases, we can give no assurance that the Commissions would approve rate increases to enable us to recover these additional compliance costs.
We are required to test our water quality for certain chemicals and potential contaminants on a regular basis. If the test results indicate that our water exceeds allowable limits, we may be required either to commence treatment to remove the contaminant or to develop an alternate water source. Either of these results may be costly. Although we would likely seek permission to recover these through rate increases, there can be no assurance that the Commissions would approve rate increases to enable us to recover these additional compliance costs.
Past events in the utility sector, including those in Flint, Michigan and related to Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California, show that failure to meet one or more water quality, environmental, or safety standards can have severe effects on customer trust, reputation, regulatory treatment, or civil and criminal liability.
New and/or more stringent water quality regulations could increase our operating costs.
We are subject to water quality standards set by federal, state, and local authorities that have the power to issue new regulations. Compliance with new regulations that are more stringent than current regulations could increase our operating costs and capital expenditures, including requirements for increased monitoring, additional treatment of underground water supplies, fluoridation of all supplies, more stringent performance standards for treatment plants, additional procedures to further reduce levels of disinfection by-products, and more comprehensive measures to monitor, reduce or eliminate known or newly identified contaminants. There are currently limited regulatory mechanisms and procedures available to us for the recovery of such costs and there can be no assurance that such costs will be fully recovered and failure to do so may adversely affect our operating results.
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Attention is being given to contaminants of emerging concern, including, without limitation, chemicals and other substances that currently do not have any regulatory standard in drinking water or have been recently created or discovered. We believe these contaminants may form the basis for additional or increased federal or state regulatory initiatives and requirements in the future, which could significantly increase the cost of our operations.
For example, while there are currently no federal MCLs or state MCLs in states in which we operate for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds, we continue to closely monitor the regulatory process at state and federal levels, follow recommendations from our regulators, review existing and new treatment methods, and develop a response strategy to help prepare us to meet anticipated MCLs. Currently the federal government has proposed regulations for 6 PFAS compounds. Where detections of PFAS in our California systems have exceeded the state-established response levels, we have implemented procedures for removing the source from service or installing treatment for PFAS.
We also treat several affected water supplies for chromium-6, which experts suggest is harmful to human health and for which the California State Water Resources Control Board is developing a new MCL. To treat chromium-6, we use strong base anion exchange or reduction, coagulation, oxidation, and filtration treatment methods. We began treating water supplies in California for chromium-6 shortly after the state safe drinking water standard was set in 2014, which was subsequently remanded, and we have continued to meet the threshold for affected active water sources as regulations have evolved.
While there are no known lead service lines within Cal Water systems, the Revised Lead and Copper Rule from the EPA includes expanded requirements to complete service line inventories on both the water utility's and the customer's side of the water meter to identify lead in drinking water. As part of our compliance strategy for this updated rule, we are currently conducting an inventory to identify potential lead service lines on the customer side of the water meter.
Legislation and regulation designed to mitigate or adapt to climate change may affect our operations.
Future legislation or regulation regarding climate change may restrict our operations or impose new costs on our business. Our operations depend on power provided by other public utilities and, in emergencies, power generated by our portable and fixed generators. If future legislation or regulation limits emissions from the power generation process, our cost of power may increase. Although any increase in the cost of power would be expected to be passed along to our California customers through the ICBA or included in our cost of service paid by our customers as requested in our GRC filings in California, we can give no assurance that such costs would be passed along to our California customers or that the CPUC would approve rate increases to enable us to recover such expenditures or costs.
Legislation and regulation regarding greenhouse gas emissions may also impose new costs on our business. For example, in March 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed climate disclosure rules that would require public companies to significantly increase disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and strategies, targets, costs and risks associated with climate change and the energy transition. Additionally, in October 2023, California enacted legislation addressing the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions, climate-related risks, environmental claims, and the use or sale of voluntary carbon offsets. New and future laws and regulations could increase the complexity of and costs associated with compliance with such regulations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We have been and may in the future be party to environmental and product-related lawsuits, which could result in us paying damages not covered by insurance.
We have been and may be in the future, party to water contamination lawsuits, which may not be fully covered by insurance.
The number of environmental and product-related lawsuits against other water utilities has increased in frequency in recent years. If we are subject to additional environmental or product-related lawsuits, we might incur significant legal costs and it is uncertain whether we would be able to recover the legal costs from customers or other third parties. In addition, if current California law regarding CPUC's preemptive jurisdiction over regulated public utilities for claims about compliance with California Department of Health Services and United States EPA water quality standards changes, our legal exposure may be significantly increased.
Risks Related to Our Business Operations
We are at risk for litigation under the principle of inverse condemnation for activities in the normal course of business that are deemed to have a damaging effect on private property.
The California constitution may allow compensation to property owners for a public utility taking or damaging private property, even when damage occurs through no fault of the utility and regardless of whether the damage could be foreseen by the utility. As a result, this doctrine, which is known as inverse condemnation and is routinely invoked in California, imposes strict liability for damages, including legal fees, because of the design, construction, maintenance and operation of utility facilities. In addition to claims that our water or wastewater systems damaged property, Cal Water could be sued under inverse
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condemnation if its facilities or operations damage private property, or if it is unable to timely deliver sufficient quantities of water for firefighting because of system capacity limitations or water supply disruptions, including as a result of action taken by an electric utility pursuant to a PSPS program or other loss of power. Although the imposition of liability is premised on the assumption that utilities have the ability to recover these costs from their customers, there is no assurance that the CPUC would allow Cal Water to recover any such damage awards from customers. For example, in December 2017, the CPUC denied recovery of costs that San Diego Gas & Electric Company incurred because of inverse condemnation, holding that the inverse condemnation principles of strict liability are not relevant to the CPUC's prudent manager standard.
The effects of natural disasters, attacks by third parties, or poor water quality or contamination to our water supply may result in disruption in our services and litigation, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
We operate in areas that are prone to earthquakes, fires, mudslides, and other natural disasters. A significant seismic event or other natural disaster in California where our operations are concentrated could adversely affect our ability to deliver water and adversely affect our costs of operations. A major disaster could damage or destroy substantial capital assets. The CPUC has historically allowed utilities to establish a catastrophic event memorandum account as another possible mechanism to recover costs. However, we can give no assurance that the CPUC or any other commission would allow any such cost recovery mechanism in the future.
Our water supplies are subject to contamination, including contamination from the development of naturally-occurring compounds, chemicals in groundwater systems, pollution resulting from fabricated sources, such as 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) and PFAS, seawater incursion, and possible third-party attacks, including physical attacks, terrorist attacks, and cyber-attacks. If our water supply is contaminated, we may have to interrupt the use of that water supply until we are able to substitute the flow of water from an uncontaminated water source. In addition, we may incur significant costs in order to treat the contaminated source through expansion of our current treatment facilities, or development of new treatment methods. If we are unable to substitute water supply from an uncontaminated water source, or if we are unable to adequately treat the contaminated water source in a cost-effective manner, there may be an adverse effect on our revenues, operating results, and financial condition. The costs we incur to decontaminate a water source or an underground water system could be significant and may not be recoverable in rates. We could also be held liable for consequences arising out of human exposure to hazardous substances in our water supplies or other environmental damage. For example, private plaintiffs have the right to bring personal injury or other toxic tort claims arising from the presence of hazardous substances in our drinking water supplies. Our insurance policies may not be sufficient to cover the costs of these claims.
We have taken steps to increase security measures at our facilities and heighten employee awareness of threats to our water supply, to protect against third-party attacks, including physical attacks, terrorist attacks, and cyber-attacks. We have also improved our security measures regarding the delivery and handling of certain chemicals used in our business. We have and will continue to bear increased costs for security precautions to protect our facilities, operations, and supplies. These costs may be significant. Despite these improved security measures, we may not be able to prevent or deter any third-party attacks or be in a position to control the outcome of third-party attacks should they occur.
We depend upon our skilled and trained workforce for water delivery. Actual or threatened public health emergencies, including disease outbreaks, may also lead to the closure of our facilities or to the illness of our employees. We can give no assurance that we will be able to maintain sufficient human resources to provide service in all of the districts that we serve.
If any of these catastrophic events were to occur, we can give no assurance that our emergency preparedness plans would be adequate and that we would respond effectively, which could result in public or employee harm or adversely affect our revenues, operating results, and financial condition.
Failure of critical elements of our infrastructure could result in interruption of service, damage to others, or injuries, and could adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.
We own physical infrastructure, which was installed over a long period of time, both underground and above-ground. This infrastructure is subject to potential failure due to age, operating conditions, or other unknown factors. Failure of any of our facilities or infrastructure could cause flooding, loss of service to our customers, contamination from chemicals we use in operations, or other damages.
We operate a dam. If the dam were to fail for any reason, we would lose a water supply and flooding likely would occur. Whether or not we were responsible for the dam's failure, we could be sued. We can give no assurance that we would be able to defend such a suit successfully.
We operate several water and wastewater treatment plants. If a major failure of these facilities were to occur, we would have an interruption in service, potential flooding, and could release potentially harmful material into the environment.
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We operate over 7,000 miles of underground pipeline. Some failures of underground pipelines could release disinfection chemicals into the environment, which have a negative impact on sensitive habitats.
We rely on our information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), and a number of complex business systems to assist with the management of our business and customer and supplier relationships, and a disruption of these systems, including from cyber-attacks, could adversely affect our business.
Our IT and OT systems are an integral part of our business, and a serious disruption of these systems could significantly limit our ability to manage and operate our business efficiently, which, in turn, could cause our business and competitive position to suffer and adversely affect our results of operations. We rely on our IT and OT networks and applications to bill customers, process orders, provide customer service, manage construction projects, manage our financial records, track assets, remotely monitor certain of our plants and facilities and manage human resources, inventory and accounts receivable collections. Our systems also enable us to purchase products from our suppliers and bill customers on a timely basis, maintain cost-effective operations, and provide service to our customers. Some of our mission and business critical systems are older and the steps we have taken to protect our systems may be insufficient to protect them from damage or interruption from:
power loss, computer systems failures, including hardware equipment and software applications, and internet, telecommunications or data network failures;
operator negligence or improper operation by, or supervision of, employees;
physical and electronic loss of customer data due to security breaches, cyber-attacks, misappropriation, acts of violence, war or terrorism, and similar events;
computer viruses;
intentional security breaches, hacking, denial of services actions, misappropriation of data, and similar events, including intentional cybersecurity breaches aimed at disrupting and interfering with water treatment processes; and
earthquakes, floods, fires, mudslides, and other natural disasters or physical attacks.
These events may result in physical and/or electronic loss of customer or financial data; security breaches; misappropriation; disruption of service to our customers; loss of revenues, response costs, and other financial loss; loss of management time, attention, and resources from our regular business operations; damage to our reputation; and other adverse consequences, including liability or regulatory penalties under data privacy laws and regulations. In addition, the lack of redundancy for certain of our IT systems, including billing systems, could exacerbate the impact of any of these events on us, all of which could have a negative impact on our business, results of operations, and cash flows. These types of events, either impacting our facilities or the industry in general, could also cause us to incur additional security and insurance related costs. In addition, in the ordinary course of business, we collect and retain sensitive information, including personally identifiable information, about our customers, employees, and vendors. In many cases, we outsource the administration of certain functions to vendors that have been and will continue to be targets of cyber-attacks. Any theft, loss or fraudulent use of customer, employee, vendor, or proprietary data as a result of a cyber-attack on us or a vendor could also subject us to significant litigation, liability, and costs, as well as adversely impact our reputation with customers and regulators, among others.
In addition, we may not be successful in developing or acquiring technology that is competitive and responsive to the needs of our business, and we might lack sufficient resources to make the necessary upgrades or replacements of our outdated existing technology to allow us to continue to operate at our current level of efficiency, all of which could adversely impact our business and competitive position. We maintain cybersecurity insurance to provide coverage for a portion of the losses and damages that may result from a security breach, but such insurance is subject to a number of exclusions and may not cover the total loss caused by a breach. Other costs associated with cyber events may not be covered by insurance or recoverable in rates. The market for cybersecurity insurance continues to evolve and may affect the future availability of cyber insurance at reasonable rates.
The adequacy of our water supplies depends upon a variety of factors beyond our control. Interruption in the water supply may adversely affect our reputation and earnings.
We depend on an adequate water supply to meet the present and future needs of our customers. Whether we have an adequate supply varies depending upon a variety of factors, many of which are partially or completely beyond our control, including:
the amount of rainfall;
the amount of water stored in reservoirs;
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underground water supply from which well water is pumped;
availability from water wholesalers;
changes in the amount of water used by our customers;
water quality and availability of appropriate treatment technology;
legal limitations on water use such as rationing restrictions during a drought;
changes in prevailing weather patterns and climate; and
population growth.
We purchase our water supply from various governmental agencies and others, and, in many areas, purchased water is the only available source of water. Water supply availability may be affected by weather conditions, funding and other political and environmental considerations. In addition, our ability to use surface water is subject to regulations regarding water quality and volume limitations. If new regulations are imposed or existing regulations are changed or given new interpretations, the availability of surface water may be materially reduced. A reduction in surface water could result in the need to procure more costly water from other sources, thereby increasing our water production costs and adversely affecting our operating results if not recovered in rates on a timely basis.
We have entered into long-term water supply agreements, which commit us to making certain minimum payments whether or not we purchase any water. Therefore, if demand were insufficient to use our required purchases we would have to pay for water we did not receive.
From time to time, we enter into water supply agreements with third parties and our business is dependent upon such agreements in order to meet regional demand. For example, we have entered into a water supply contract with the SFPUC that expires on June 30, 2034. We can give no assurance that the SFPUC, or any of the other parties from whom we purchase water, will renew our contracts upon expiration, or that we will not be subject to significant price increases under any such renewed contracts.
The parties from whom we purchase water maintain significant infrastructure and systems to deliver water to us. Maintenance of these facilities is beyond our control. If these facilities are not adequately maintained or if these parties otherwise default on their obligations to supply water to us, we may not have adequate water supplies to meet our customers' needs.
If we are unable to access adequate water supplies, we may be unable to satisfy all customer demand, which could result in rationing. Rationing may have an adverse effect on cash flow from operations. We can make no guarantee that we will always have access to an adequate supply of water that will meet all required quality standards. Water shortages may affect us in a variety of ways. For example, shortages could:
adversely affect our supply mix by causing us to rely on more expensive purchased water;
adversely affect operating costs;
increase the risk of contamination to our systems due to our inability to maintain sufficient pressure; and
increase capital expenditures for building pipelines to connect to alternative sources of supply, new wells to replace those that are no longer in service or are otherwise inadequate to meet the needs of our customers and reservoirs and other facilities to conserve or reclaim water.
We may or may not be able to recover increased operating and construction costs on a timely basis, or at all, for our regulated systems through the ratemaking process. We can give no assurance, as to whether we may be able to recover certain of these costs from third parties that may be responsible, or potentially responsible, for any groundwater contamination.
Our water supplies and other aspects of our operations may be affected by climate change.
There is strong scientific consensus that human activity including carbon and methane emissions is impacting many planetary systems such as the heat-trapping capacity of the atmosphere; ocean temperature, circulation, acidity, and volume; weather patterns including the severity and frequency of severe weather events; ambient temperatures; and planetary ice cover. Because scientific investigations have been focused globally, there is tremendous uncertainty over the timing, extent, and types of impacts global climate change may have on our service areas and in our water supplies. Moreover, studies of tree ring data show long periods of drought conditions have occurred prior to significant human impacts in California and prior to our operation. Finally, in the last fifty years, California has experienced at least three severe multi-year droughts. We can give no assurance that any of our plans for water reliability and water shortages, including incorporating projected and potential climate
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change risks into our water supply planning activities, will be adequate or capable of effectively addressing any droughts or longer periods of drought conditions or other conditions affecting water quality and availability. Immediate physical risks could affect our operations and intensify over time as climate change worsens. More frequent flooding, wildfires, sea level rise, rising or falling groundwater levels, and uneven ground level sinking could damage our assets, including pressurized mains and other pipelines, wells, treatment facilities, and other infrastructure. Wildfires and changes in rainfall may also affect water quality, and both higher temperatures and wildfires can pose risks to employee safety. Farther into the mid-century and late-century horizon, temperature increases may cause declines in snowpack storage, and droughts could decrease surface water supply availability and groundwater recharge while causing increased outdoor demands, which, in each case, could adversely impact our ability to source adequate water supply to meet the needs of our customers.
Additional climate-related risks may influence our approach as we support the transition to a low-carbon economy. Transition risks include changes in the market and consumer demands, such as differences in generational behaviors, shifts in population locations due to different weather patterns, and variations in water needs and customer groups. Regulatory risks, such as emission trading systems and carbon taxes, may also financially affect our business. Additionally, federal and state regulations present requirements for managing water supplies and limiting impacts on local wildlife, while regional plans and legislation may directly affect how we address water issues.
We also periodically review the climate change plans of our wholesalers to determine whether alternative supplies may be necessary in the future. However, we can give no assurance that replacement water supplies will be available at a reasonable cost or a cost acceptable to our customers and Commissions.
Natural disasters, climate change, economic conditions, and other factors may change the population in our service areas.
In the event that some outside factor such as a wildfire, flood, changed climate pattern, actual or threatened public health emergency, or change in the local economy reduces or eliminates our customer base in a service area, or negatively affects the ability of a customer to pay, we could face unrecoverable costs. In those circumstances, the remaining customers might not be able to pay for the operating costs or capital costs of the water system. We may not be able to recover capital costs of property that is no longer used or useful in utility service. We may also encounter an increase in bad debt expense in times of economic difficulty. For example, we experienced an increase in bad debt expense in 2022, which we believe was due to economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we would likely seek permission to recover any such future costs through rate increases on remaining customers or in statewide rates, we can give no assurance that the Commissions would approve rate increases to enable us to recover these costs.
Wastewater operations entail significant risks.
Wastewater collection and treatment involve many risks associated with damage to the environment, and we anticipate that wastewater collection and treatment will become an increasing significant part of our business. If collection or treatment systems fail or do not operate properly, untreated or partially treated wastewater could discharge onto property or into nearby streams and rivers, causing damage or injury to property, aquatic life, or human life. Our results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected by liabilities resulting from such damage.
Demand for our water is subject to various factors and is affected by seasonal fluctuations.
Demand for our water during the warmer, dry months is generally greater than during cooler or rainy months due primarily to additional requirements for water in connection with irrigation systems, swimming pools, cooling systems, and other outside water use. Throughout the year, and particularly during typically warmer months, demand will vary with temperature and rainfall levels. If temperatures during the typically warmer months are cooler than normal, or if there is more rainfall than normal, the demand for our water may decrease. Under the MWRAM mechanism, lower water usage in our California operations affects our cash flows in the year of usage, but results in higher cash flows in the following years.
In addition, governmental restrictions on water usage during drought conditions may result in a decreased demand for our water, even if our water reserves are sufficient to serve our customers during these drought conditions. The Commissions may not allow surcharges to collect lost revenues caused by customers' conservation during a drought. Regardless of whether we may surcharge our customers during a conservation period, they may use less water even after a drought has passed because of conservation patterns developed during the drought. Furthermore, our customers may wish to use recycled water as a substitute for potable water. If rights are granted to others to serve our customers recycled water, there will likely be a decrease in demand for our water.


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Finally, changes in prevailing weather patterns due to climate change may affect customer demand. If increased ambient temperatures affect our service areas, water used for irrigation and cooling may increase. If rainfall patterns change, our customers may change their patterns of water use including the amount of outdoor irrigation and the type of landscape they install. Government agencies may also mandate changes to customer irrigation or landscape patterns in response to changes in weather and climate.
Changes in water supply costs affect our operations.
The cost to obtain water for delivery to our customers varies depending on the sources of supply, wholesale suppliers' prices, the quality of water required to be treated and the quantity of water produced to fulfill customer water demand. Our source of supply varies among our operating districts. Certain districts obtain all of their supply from wells; some districts purchase all of the supply from wholesale suppliers; and other districts obtain the supply from a combination of wells and wholesale suppliers. A small portion of supply comes from surface sources and is processed through Company-owned water treatment plants. On average, slightly more than half of the water we deliver to our customers is pumped from wells or received from a surface supply with the remainder purchased from wholesale suppliers. Water purchased from suppliers usually costs us more than surface supplied or well pumped water. The cost of purchased water for delivery to customers represented 31.2% of our total operating costs in 2023 and in 2022. Water purchased from suppliers will require renewal of our contracts upon expiration and may result in significant price increases under any such renewed contracts.
Wholesale water suppliers may increase their prices for water delivered to us based on factors that affect their operating costs. Purchased water rate increases are beyond our control. In California, our ability to recover increases in the cost of purchased water is expected to change with the adoption of the ICBA, which is pending approval of the 2021 GRC. With this change, actual per-unit purchased water costs are expected to be compared to authorized per-unit purchased water costs, with variances added to or netted against the variances in purchased power and pump taxes being recorded as a cost recovery. The balance in the ICBA is expected to be collected in the future by billing the ICBA accounts receivable balances over future periods, which may have a short-term negative impact on cash flow.
Dependency upon adequate supply of electricity, certain chemicals, and third-party suppliers of parts and skilled labor could adversely affect our results of operations.
Purchased electrical power is required to operate the wells and pumps needed to supply water to our customers. Although there are back-up power generators to operate a number of wells and pumps in emergencies, an extended interruption in power could affect the ability to supply water. In the past, California has been subject to rolling power blackouts due to insufficient power supplies. There is no assurance we will not be subject to power blackouts in the future. Additionally, we require sufficient amounts of certain chemicals in order to treat the water we supply. There are multiple sources for these chemicals but an extended interruption of supply could adversely affect our ability to adequately treat our water.
Purchased power is a significant operating expense. During 2023 and 2022, purchased power expense represented 6.4% and 6.2%, respectively, of our total operating costs. These costs are beyond our control and can change unpredictably and substantially. As with purchased water, purchased power costs are expected to be included in the ICBA. Cash flows between rate filings may be adversely affected until the Commission authorizes a rate change, but earnings will be minimally impacted. Cost of chemicals used in the delivery of water is not an element of the ICBA, and therefore, variances in quantity or cost could affect the results of operations.
We rely on outside contractors to supply us with materials and parts critical to the operation of our systems. Should parts and material become unavailable, or should the cost of necessary supplies rise substantially, it could adversely affect our ability to operate or have financial effects that are not recoverable through a regulatory process.
We also rely on outside contractors to complete large construction projects and provide emergency maintenance services. In the event these contractors are unavailable or cannot meet the demands imposed on them, we may face significantly lengthy interruptions of service or delays in constructing capital projects. We may face additional costs to acquire more resources to complete these activities.
Our business requires significant capital expenditures to replace or improve aging infrastructure that are dependent on our ability to secure appropriate funding. If we are unable to obtain sufficient capital or if the rates at which we borrow increase, there would be a negative impact on our results of operations.
The water utility business is capital-intensive. We invest significant funds to replace or improve aging infrastructure such as property, plant, and equipment. In addition, water shortages may adversely affect us by causing us to rely on more purchased water. This could cause increases in capital expenditures needed to build pipelines to secure alternative water sources. In addition, we require capital to grow our business through acquisitions. We fund our capital requirements from cash received from operations, from funds received from developers, by raising equity through common stock issuances or by issuing debt
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obligations. We cannot give any assurance that these sources will continue to be adequate or that the cost of funds will remain at levels permitting us to earn a reasonable rate of return. In the event we are unable to obtain sufficient capital, our expansion efforts could be curtailed, which may affect our growth and may affect our future results of operations.
Our ability to access the capital markets is affected by the ratings of certain of our debt securities. Standard & Poor's Rating Agency issues a rating on California Water Service Company's ability to repay certain debt obligations. The credit rating agency could downgrade our credit rating based on reviews of our financial performance and projections or upon the occurrence of other events that could affect our business outlook. Lower ratings by the agency could restrict our ability to access equity and debt capital. We can give no assurance that the rating agency will maintain ratings that allow us to borrow under advantageous conditions and at reasonable interest rates. A future downgrade by the agency could also increase our cost of capital by causing potential investors to require a higher interest rate due to a perceived risk related to our ability to repay outstanding debt obligations.
While the majority of our debt is long term at fixed rates, we do have interest rate exposure in our short-term borrowings, which have variable interest rates. We are also subject to interest rate risks on new financings. However, if interest rates were to increase on a long-term basis, our management believes that customer rates would increase accordingly, subject to approval by the appropriate commission. We can give no assurance that the Commission would approve such an increase in customer rates.
We are obligated to comply with specified debt covenants under certain of our loan and debt agreements. Failure to maintain compliance with these covenants could limit future borrowing, and we could face increased borrowing costs, litigation, acceleration of maturity schedules, and cross default issues. Such actions by our creditors could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our inability to access the capital or financial markets could affect our ability to meet our liquidity needs at reasonable cost and our ability to meet long-term commitments. Changes in economic conditions in our markets could affect our customers' ability to pay for water services. Any of these could adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.
We rely on our current credit facilities to fund short-term liquidity needs if internal funds are not available from operations. Specifically, given the seasonal fluctuations in demand for our water we commonly draw on our credit facilities to meet our cash requirements at times in the year when demand is relatively low. We also may occasionally use letters of credit issued under our revolving credit facilities. Disruptions in the capital and credit markets could adversely affect our ability to draw on our credit facilities. Our access to funds under our credit facilities is dependent on the ability of our banks to meet their funding commitments.
Many of our customers and suppliers also have exposure to risks that could affect their ability to meet payment and supply commitments. We operate in geographic areas that may be particularly susceptible to declines in the price of real property, which could result in significant declines in demand for our products and services. In the event that any of our significant customers or suppliers, or a significant number of smaller customers and suppliers, are adversely affected by these risks, we may face disruptions in supply, significant reductions in demand for our products and services, inability of customers to pay invoices when due, and other adverse effects that could negatively affect our financial condition, results of operations and/or cash flows.
Our operations and certain contracts for water distribution and treatment depend on the financial capability of state and local governments, and other municipal entities such as water districts. Major disruptions in the financial strength or operations of such entities, such as liquidity limitations, bankruptcy or insolvency, could have an adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business and/or enforce our rights under contracts to which such entities are a party.
We are a holding company that depends on cash flow from our subsidiaries to meet our obligations and to pay dividends on our common stock.
As a holding company, we conduct substantially all of our operations through our subsidiaries and our only significant assets are investments in those subsidiaries. In 2023, 90.6% of our total consolidated operating revenue was derived from the operations of California Water Service Company. As a result, we are dependent on cash flow from our subsidiaries, and California Water Service Company in particular, to meet our obligations and to pay dividends on our common stock.
Our subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and generally have no obligation to pay any amounts due on California Water Service Group's debt or to provide California Water Service Group with funds for dividends. Although there are no contractual or regulatory restrictions on the ability of our subsidiaries to transfer funds to us, the reasonableness of our capital structure is one of the factors considered by state and local regulatory agencies in their ratemaking determinations. Therefore, transfer of funds from our subsidiaries to us for the payment of our obligations or dividends may have an adverse effect on ratemaking determinations. Furthermore, our right to receive cash or other assets upon the liquidation or
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reorganization of a subsidiary is generally subject to the prior claims of creditors of that subsidiary. If we are unable to obtain funds from our subsidiaries in a timely manner, we may be unable to meet our obligations or pay dividends.
We can make dividend payments only from our surplus (the excess, if any, of our net assets over total paid-in capital) or if there is no surplus, the net profits for the current fiscal year or the fiscal year before which the dividend is declared. In addition, we can pay cash dividends only if after paying those dividends we would be able to pay our liabilities as they become due. Owners of our capital stock cannot force us to pay dividends and dividends will only be paid if and when declared by our board of directors (Board). Our Board can elect at any time, and for an indefinite duration, not to declare dividends on our capital stock.
An important element of our growth strategy is the acquisition of water and wastewater systems. Risks associated with potential acquisitions, divestitures or restructurings may adversely affect us.
We seek to acquire or invest in other companies, technologies, services, or products that complement our business from time to time. The execution of our growth strategy exposes us to different risks than those associated with our utility operations. We can give no assurance that we will succeed in finding attractive acquisition candidates or investments, or that we would be able to reach mutually agreeable terms with such parties. In addition, as consolidation becomes more prevalent in the water and wastewater industries, the prices for suitable acquisition candidates may increase to unacceptable levels and limit our ability to grow through acquisitions. If we are unable to find acquisition candidates or investments, our ability to grow may be limited.
Acquisition and investment transactions may result in the issuance of our equity securities that could be dilutive if the acquisition or business opportunity does not develop in accordance with our business plan. They may also result in significant write-offs and an increase in our debt. The occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Any of these transactions could involve numerous additional risks, including one or more of the following:
problems integrating the acquired operations, personnel, technologies, physical and cybersecurity processes, or products with our existing businesses and products;
liabilities inherited from the acquired companies' prior business operations;
diversion of management time and attention from our core business to the acquired business;
failure to retain key technical, management, and other personnel of the acquired business;
difficulty in retaining relationships with suppliers and customers of the acquired business; and
difficulty in obtaining required regulatory approvals.
In addition, the businesses and other assets we acquire may not achieve the sales and profitability expected. The occurrence of one or more of these events may have a material adverse effect on our business. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in overcoming these or any other significant risks encountered.
We may not be able to increase or sustain our recent growth rate, and we may not be able to manage our future growth effectively.
We may be unable to continue to expand our business or manage future growth. To successfully manage our growth and handle the responsibilities of being a public company, we must effectively:
hire, train, integrate, and manage additional qualified engineers for engineering design and construction activities, new business personnel, and financial and information technology personnel;
retain key management, augment our management team, and retain qualified and certified water and wastewater system operators;
implement and improve additional and existing administrative, financial and operations systems, procedures and controls;
expand our technological capabilities; and
manage multiple relationships with our customers, regulators, suppliers, and other third parties.
If we are unable to manage our growth effectively, we may not be able to take advantage of market opportunities, satisfy customer requirements, execute our business plan, or respond to competitive pressures.
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We have a number of large-volume commercial and industrial customers and a significant decrease in consumption by one or more of these customers could have an adverse effect on our operating results and cash flows.
Our billed revenues and cash flows from operations will decrease if a significant business or industrial customer terminates or materially reduces its use of our water. Approximately $187.1 million, or 23.7%, of our 2023 water utility revenues was derived from business and industrial customers. In Hawaii, we serve a number of large resorts, which if their water usage was reduced or ceased could have a material impact to our Hawaii operation. The delay between such date and the effective date of the rate relief may be significant and could adversely affect our operating results and cash flows.
Our operating cost and costs of providing services may rise faster than our revenues.
Our ability to increase rates over time is dependent upon approval of such rate increases by the Commissions, or in the case of the City of Hawthorne and the City of Commerce, the City Council, which may be inclined, for political or other reasons, to limit rate increases. However, our costs, which are subject to market conditions and other factors, may increase significantly. The second largest component of our operating costs after water production is made up of salaries and wages. These costs are affected by the local supply and demand for qualified labor. Other large components of our costs are general insurance, workers compensation insurance, employee benefits, and health insurance costs. These costs may increase disproportionately to rate increases authorized by the Commissions and may have a material adverse effect on our future results of operations.
Demand for our stock may fluctuate due to circumstances beyond our control.
We believe that stockholders invest in public utility stocks, in part, because they seek reliable dividend payments. If there is an over-supply of stock of public utilities in the market relative to demand by such investors, the trading price of our securities could decrease. Additionally, if interest rates rise above the dividend yield offered by our equity securities, demand for our stock, and consequently its market price, may decrease. Additional factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our stock include regulatory developments, such as the CPUC's ultimate decision regarding the 2021 GRC; general economic conditions and trends, including inflationary pressures, general economic slowdown or a recession, changes in monetary policy, adverse capital markets activity or macroeconomic conditions as a result of geopolitical conflicts, and the prospect of a shutdown of the U.S. federal government; price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market; actual or anticipated changes or fluctuations in our results of operations; actual or anticipated changes in the expectations of investors or securities analysts; actual or anticipated developments in other utilities' businesses or the competitive landscape generally; litigation involving us or our industry; major catastrophic events, or sales of large blocks of our stock. A decline in demand for our stock may have a negative impact on our ability to finance capital projects.
Adverse investment returns and other factors may increase our pension liability and pension funding requirements.
A substantial number of our employees are covered by a defined benefit pension plan. At present, the pension plan is underfunded because our projected pension benefit obligation exceeds the aggregate fair value of plan assets. Under applicable law, we are required to make cash contributions to the extent necessary to comply with minimum funding levels imposed by regulatory requirements. The amount of such required cash contribution is based on an actuarial valuation of the plan. The funded status of the plan can be affected by investment returns on plan assets, discount rates, mortality rates of plan participants, pension reform legislation, and a number of other factors. There can be no assurance that the value of our pension plan assets will be sufficient to cover future liabilities. Although we contributed to our pension plan in recent years, it is possible that we could incur a pension liability adjustment, or could be required to make additional cash contributions to our pension plan, which would reduce the cash available for business and other needs.
Labor relations matters could adversely affect our operating results.
At December 31, 2023, 757 of our 1,266 total employees were union employees. Most of our unionized employees are represented by the UWUA, AFL-CIO, except certain engineering and laboratory employees who are represented by the IFPTE, AFL-CIO.
We believe our labor relations are good, but in light of rising costs for health care, pensions, and general inflation, our future contract negotiations may be difficult. Furthermore, changes in applicable law or regulations could have an adverse effect on management's negotiating position with respect to our currently unionized employees and/or employees that decide to unionize in the future. We are subject to a risk of work stoppages and other labor relations matters as we negotiate with the unions to address these issues, which could affect our results of operations and financial condition. We can give no assurance that issues with our labor forces will be resolved favorably to us in the future or that we will not experience work stoppages.
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Our operations are geographically concentrated in California and this lack of diversification may negatively affect our operating results.
Although we own facilities in a number of states, 90.6% of our total consolidated operating revenue was generated by our operations located in California in 2023. As a result, we are largely subject to political, regulatory, economic, water supply, weather, labor, and energy cost risks affecting California.
We are also affected by the real property market in California. In order to grow our business, we may need to acquire additional real estate or rights to use real property owned by third parties, the cost of which tends to be higher and more volatile in California than in other states. The value of our assets in California may decline if there is a decline in the California real estate market that results in a significant decrease in real property values.
Our business and financial performance may be adversely affected by high inflation and other macroeconomic conditions.
Inflation has the potential to adversely affect our liquidity, business, financial condition, and results of operations by increasing our overall cost structure, particularly if we are unable to achieve increases in the rates we charge our customers. There is no guarantee that any future rate increase requests will be approved and granted in a timely manner and/or will be sufficient to cover costs for the impact of high inflation. The existence of inflation in the economy has resulted in, and may continue to result in, higher interest rates and capital costs, shipping costs, supply shortages, increased costs of labor, and other similar effects. As a result of inflation, we have experienced, and may continue to experience, cost increases. Although we may take measures to mitigate the impact of this inflation, if these measures are not effective, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity could be materially adversely affected. Even if such measures are effective, there could be a difference between the timing of when these beneficial actions impact our results of operations and when the cost of inflation is incurred.
We may also be similarly impacted by stagnating or worsening business and economic conditions, including general economic slowdown or a recession, higher interest rates for a prolonged period of time, instability of certain financial institutions, changes in monetary policy, adverse capital markets activity or macroeconomic conditions as a result of geopolitical conflicts, and the prospect of a shutdown of the U.S. federal government.
Municipalities, water districts, and other public agencies may condemn our property by eminent domain action.
State statutes allow municipalities, water districts and other public agencies to own and operate water systems. These agencies are empowered to condemn water systems or real property owned by privately owned public utilities in certain circumstances and in compliance with California and federal law. Additionally, whenever a public agency constructs facilities to extend its utility system into the service area of a privately owned public utility, such an act may constitute the taking of property and require reimbursement to the public utility for its loss. If a public agency were to file an eminent domain lawsuit against us, we would incur substantial attorney's fees, consultant and expert fees, and other costs in considering a challenge to the right to take our utility property and/or its valuation for just compensation, as well as such fees and costs in any subsequent litigation if necessary. If the public agency prevailed and acquired our utility property, we would be entitled to just compensation for our loss, but we would no longer have access to the condemned property or water system. Neither would we be entitled to any portion of revenue generated from the use of such asset going forward.
General Risk Factors
We depend significantly on the services of the members of our management team, and the departure of any of those persons could cause our operating results to suffer.
Our success depends significantly on the continued individual and collective contributions of our management team. The loss of the services of any member of our management team could have an adverse effect on our business as our management team has knowledge of our industry and customers and would be difficult to replace.
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We retain certain risks not covered by our insurance policies.
We evaluate our risks and insurance coverage annually or more frequently if circumstances dictate. Our evaluation considers the costs, risks, and benefits of retaining versus insuring various risks as well as the availability of certain types of insurance coverage. Accordingly, we have determined or may determine to self-insure or to not obtain insurance in certain cases, or insurance may not be available at commercially acceptable terms or at all. Furthermore, we are also affected by increases in prices for insurance coverage; in particular, we have been, and will continue to be, affected by rising health insurance costs. Retained risks are associated with deductible limits, partial self-insurance programs, and insurance policy coverage ceilings. If we suffer an uninsured loss, we may be unable to pass all or any portion of the loss on to customers, because our rates are regulated by regulatory commissions. Consequently, uninsured losses may negatively affect our financial condition, liquidity, and results of operations. There can be no assurance that we will not face uninsured losses pertaining to the risks we have retained.
Our enterprise risk management processes may not be effective in identifying and mitigating the risks to which we are subject, or in reducing the potential for losses in connection with such risks.
Our enterprise risk management processes are designed to minimize or mitigate the risks to which we are subject, as well as any losses stemming from such risks. Although we seek to identify, measure, monitor, report, and control our exposure to such risks, and employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and mitigation techniques in the process, those techniques are inherently limited in their ability to anticipate the existence or development of risks that are currently unknown and unanticipated. The ineffectiveness of our enterprise risk management processes in mitigating the impact of known risks or the emergence of previously unknown or unanticipated risks may result in our incurring losses in the future that could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
The accuracy of our judgments and estimates about financial and accounting matters will affect our operating results and financial condition.
We make certain estimates and judgments in preparing our financial statements regarding, among others:
the useful life of intangible rights;
the number of years to depreciate certain assets;
amounts to set aside for uncollectible accounts receivable, inventory obsolescence, and uninsured losses;
our legal exposure and the appropriate accrual for claims, including medical claims and workers' compensation claims;
future costs and assumptions for pensions and other postretirement benefits;
regulatory recovery of regulatory assets;
possible tax uncertainties; and
projected collections of WRAM and MCBA receivables or receivables under subsequent recovery mechanisms, such as MWRAM and ICBA.
The quality and accuracy of those estimates and judgments may have an impact on our operating results and financial condition.
In addition, we must estimate unbilled revenues and costs as of the end of each accounting period. If our estimates are not accurate, we would be required to make an adjustment in a future period. Accounting rules permit us to use expense balancing accounts and memorandum accounts that include cost changes to us that are different from amounts incorporated into the rates approved by the Commissions. These accounts result in expenses and revenues being recognized in periods other than in which they occurred.
Our commitments and stakeholder expectations relating to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations may expose us to liabilities, increased costs, reputational harm, and other adverse effects on our business.
We have announced, and may from time to time announce, certain initiatives, including goals, targets, and other objectives, related to ESG matters. These statements reflect our current plans and do not constitute a guarantee that they will be achieved. Our failure to accomplish or accurately track and report on these goals on a timely basis, or at all, could adversely affect our reputation, financial performance, and growth, and expose us to increased scrutiny from the investment community as well as enforcement authorities. In addition, statements about our sustainability goals, targets, and other objectives, and progress against those goals, targets, and other objectives, are or may be based on standards for measuring progress that are still
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developing, internal controls and processes that continue to evolve, and assumptions that are subject to change in the future. Our selection of voluntary disclosure frameworks and standards, and the interpretation or application of those frameworks and standards, have changed and may change from time to time, or differ from those of others. Methodologies for reporting this data have been and may from time to time be updated and previously reported data has been or may be adjusted, as applicable, to reflect improvement in availability and quality of third-party data, changing assumptions, changes in the nature and scope of our operations, and other changes in circumstances, which could result in significant revisions to our current goals, reported progress in achieving such goals, or ability to achieve such goals in the future.
Investor and political advocacy groups, certain institutional investors, investment funds, other market participants, stockholders, and customers have focused increasingly on ESG initiatives, including the goals, targets, and objectives that we announce, and our methodologies and timelines for pursuing them. At the same time, stakeholders and regulators have increasingly expressed or pursued opposing views, legislation, and investment expectations with respect to sustainability initiatives, including the enactment or proposal of "anti-ESG" legislation or policies. Implementing our ESG programs involves risks and uncertainties, including increased costs, requires investments and often depends on third-party performance or data that is outside our control. For example, as a regulated utility, we must obtain approval from our state utilities commissions for our cost structure and capital investments, including capital expenditures for implementing ESG programs, and any changes that may affect customer rates need to be approved within the rate case process with the state public utilities commissions. In our experience, U.S. state utilities commissions have prioritized water affordability and physical climate change risk adaptation over emissions reductions. Additionally, in many areas, purchased water, which is a contributor to our emissions inventory, is the only available water source, and a large majority of these single-source suppliers have not published emission reduction targets. We cannot guarantee that we will achieve our announced ESG targets and commitments, satisfy all stakeholder expectations, or that the benefits of implementing or achieving these goals and initiatives will not surpass their projected costs. Any failure, or perceived failure, to achieve ESG goals and initiatives, as well as to manage ESG risks, adhere to public statements, comply with federal or state ESG laws and regulations or meet evolving and varied stakeholder expectations and standards could result in legal and regulatory proceedings against us and materially adversely affect our business, reputation, results of operations, financial condition, and stock price. Even if we achieve our goals, targets, and objectives, we may not realize all of the benefits that we expected at the time they were established.
Our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable laws and regulations could be impaired by a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, which could result in loss of investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and materially adversely affect our results of operations and stock price.
The accuracy of our financial reporting is dependent on the effectiveness of our internal controls. We are required to provide a report from management to our stockholders on our internal control over financial reporting that includes an assessment of the effectiveness of these controls. As disclosed in our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K, management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2022 due to a material weakness in our internal control over the completeness of our accounting for regulatory assets and liabilities, specifically controls over the identification of regulatory filings by the Company during the period that are then reviewed to determine their potential accounting impact. This material weakness has since been remediated.
Internal control over financial reporting has inherent limitations, including human error, the possibility that controls could be circumvented or become inadequate because of changed conditions, and fraud. Because of these inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting might not prevent or detect all misstatements or fraud. If we are unable to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures, we could suffer harm to our reputation, incur incremental compliance costs, fail to meet our public reporting requirements on a timely basis, be unable to properly report on our business and our results of operations, or be required to restate our financial statements, which could result in loss of investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, subject us to litigation or investigations requiring management resources and payment of legal and other expenses, and our results of operations and our stock price could be materially adversely affected.
Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.
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Item 1C.    Cybersecurity.
Governance
The Board and Audit Committee are responsible for overseeing IT and OT risks from cybersecurity threats. The Board recognizes the importance of maintaining the trust and confidence of our customers, employees, and stockholders and the need to protect information stored on our and our vendors' systems, including personal and proprietary data.
Our Senior Vice President of Corporate Services & Chief Risk Officer (SVP & CRO), who reports directly to our Chairman, President & CEO leads a team that is responsible for managing our enterprise-wide information security strategy, policy, standards, architecture, and processes, including the prevention, detection, mitigation, and remediation of cybersecurity incidents. Our SVP & CRO holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems, has over 25 years of information and operational technology experience, is a certified Project Management Professional, and is a Certified Information Security Manager from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. He served for one year as the President of the Bay Area InfraGard chapter and four years on its Board. InfraGard is a collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and members of the private sector that promotes the protection of U.S. critical infrastructure and enables the exchange of important information. Our Director of IT Security and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), who reports to the SVP & CRO, has over 25 years of information technology and 15 years of cybersecurity experience and holds a Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium.
The Board and Audit Committee receive regular reports from management no less than quarterly, and on an ad hoc basis, on information and operational technology risks, including cybersecurity and data security risks, as well as on the status of projects to strengthen our information security systems, assessments of our security program, and the emerging threat landscape.
The SVP & CRO receives reports on cybersecurity threats from the CISO who regularly reviews threat intelligence from various sources including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SVP & CRO, in conjunction with management, also regularly reviews risk management measures implemented by us to identify and mitigate data security and cybersecurity risks. The significance of these threats is assessed by the SVP & CRO and his team and reported, as appropriate depending on the significance, to the Audit Committee.
Risk Management and Strategy
Our cybersecurity risk management approach is informed in part by multiple standards and regulations for cybersecurity and data privacy, including the following:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework
NIST 800-171 and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (NIST 800-171 CMMC)
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
California Privacy Rights Act
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS)
We regularly assess our adherence to these standards and maintain programs designed to support our compliance with these requirements. External firms audit our compliance with NIST 800-171 CMMC and DFARS every three years. In addition, our cybersecurity processes have been integrated into our overall enterprise risk management system and specific cybersecurity-focused disclosure controls and procedures have been developed. Management continues to support a variety of practices that are intended to align with recognized frameworks and reflect our approach to assess, identify, and manage material risks from cybersecurity threats:
Incident response: We have adopted a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan (IRP) that applies in the event of a cybersecurity threat or incident to provide a standardized framework for investigating, containing, documenting, and mitigating incidents, including reporting findings and keeping senior management and other key stakeholders informed and involved as appropriate. The IRP applies to all Company personnel and third-party contractors, vendors, and partners that perform functions or services that require access to secure our information, and to all devices and network services that are owned or managed by the Company.

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Regular testing: We engage a third-party cybersecurity firm to conduct an annual network penetration test on our corporate and supervisory control and data acquisition networks. The annual penetration test enables us to assess our existing security controls to identify weaknesses and eliminate vulnerabilities to defend against cybersecurity threats proactively. Our Information Technology team also conducts rehearsals of our IRP to test and enhance our ability to respond to cybersecurity incidents.
Monitoring for risks: We engage a third party cybersecurity firm to manage our Security Operations Center (SOC) who is responsible for monitoring our network traffic 24/7. Our SOC helps to identify and respond to cybersecurity issues in real time by assessing the level of threats and making recommendations on appropriate actions.
Security controls: We incorporate physical- and software-based preventive, detective, and corrective security controls to prevent or detect unauthorized activities and proactively alert us should an unauthorized activity occur within the organization. Early detection can enable the security team to quickly contain and eradicate the unauthorized activity to reduce the time exposure window and the impact of the incident. Our Security Incident Event Management tool monitors security logs, includes detective controls, and helps to identify irregular activities.
Detection and preventative technology: We have implemented multiple technologies designed to help protect our systems from cybersecurity threats, including an intrusion prevention system, next-generation antivirus program, end point protection system, and a data loss prevention security tool.
Regular improvements: We regularly work to enhance our systems and integrate new information and technology to upgrade our systems. We review and approve software and hardware acquisitions to enhance our ability to detect and manage cybersecurity threats. We also engage the FBI, DHS, and Fusion Center for incident response support and collaborate to share critical information.
Management also shares knowledge to protect our infrastructure and learn from recent developments. In addition to InfraGard, our SVP & CRO is a member of The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, which is part of the California State Threat Assessment System supporting public safety as an intelligence and information sharing nexus in Northern California. Our CISO also actively participates on the Safety and Security Committee of the National Association of Water Companies to collaborate with members of our industry and learn best practices.
Our employees represent the foundation of cybersecurity protection and are a key line of defense, and we seek to strengthen their ability to target risks by proactively training active employees and contractors each year. We update our online security awareness training annually to review key policies and practices for security. To engage our workforce and inform employees of applicable security topics, we provide a monthly internal cybersecurity newsletter. Our monthly campaign on mock phishing emails is designed to serve as a reminder to employees to refrain from clicking on fraudulent emails disguised as safe content. We also assign enhanced cybersecurity training to employees who have access to potentially sensitive governmental information.
In the last fiscal year, we have not identified risks from known cybersecurity threats, including as a result of any prior cybersecurity incidents, that have materially affected us, but we face certain ongoing cybersecurity risks threats that, if realized, are reasonably likely to materially affect us. Additional information on cybersecurity risks we face is discussed in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors," under the heading "We rely on our information technology (IT) and a number of complex business systems to assist with the management of our business and customer and supplier relationships, and a disruption of these systems, including from cyber-attacks, could adversely affect our business."
Item 2.    Properties.
Our physical properties consist of offices and water and wastewater facilities to accomplish the production, storage, treatment, and distribution of water and the collection, treatment, and discharge of wastewater. These properties are located in or near the geographic service areas listed above in Item 1, "Business—Geographical Service Areas and Number of Customer Connections at Year-end." Our headquarters, which houses accounting, engineering, information systems, human resources, legal, purchasing, regulatory, water quality, and executive staff, is located in San Jose, California.
The real properties owned are held in fee simple title. Properties owned by Cal Water are subject to the lien of an Indenture of Mortgage and Deed of Trust dated May 11, 2021, June 11, 2019, November 22, 2010, and April 17, 2009 (the California Indenture), securing Cal Water's First Mortgage Bonds, of which $1,050.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2023. The California Indenture contains certain restrictions common to such types of instruments regarding the disposition of property and includes various covenants and restrictions. At December 31, 2023, our California utility was in compliance with the covenants of the California Indenture.

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Cal Water owns 600 wells and operates ten leased wells. There are 408 owned storage tanks with a capacity of 290 million gallons, one leased storage tanks with a capacity of 0.25 million gallons, 28 managed storage tanks with a capacity of 32 million gallons, and three surface water reservoirs with a capacity of 241 million gallons. Cal Water owns and operates six surface water treatment plants with a combined capacity of 46 million gallons per day. There are 6,743 miles of supply and distribution mains in the various owned and managed systems.
In the leased City of Hawthorne and City of Commerce systems or in systems that are operated under contract for municipalities or private companies, title to the various properties is held exclusively by the municipality or private company.
Hawaii Water owns 29 wells, manages two potable wells, and manages five irrigation wells. There are 38 storage tanks with a storage capacity of 35.8 million gallons. There are 246 miles of supply and distribution lines. Hawaii Water operates seven wastewater treatment facilities with a combined capacity to process approximately 4.8 million gallons per day. There are 77.1 miles of sewer collection mains including force mains.
Washington Water owns 469 wells and manages 5 wells. There are 194 owned storage tanks with a storage capacity of 23.8 million gallons. There are 734 miles of supply and distribution lines. Washington Water operates one wastewater treatment plant with 1.3 miles of sewer collection mains.
New Mexico Water owns 29 wells. There are 29 storage tanks with a storage capacity of 11.0 million gallons. There are 210 miles of supply and distribution lines. New Mexico operates two wastewater treatment facilities with a combined capacity to process 0.62 million gallons per day. There are eight lift stations and 35 miles of sewer collection mains.
Washington Water has long-term bank loans that are secured primarily by utility plant owned by Washington Water.
Texas Water, through its majority ownership of BVRT, owns and operates four wastewater treatment plants. The plants have a treatment capacity of 795,000 gallons per day.
Item 3.    Legal Proceedings.
Information with respect to this item may be found under the subheading "Commitments and Contingencies" in Note 14 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 4.    Mine Safety Disclosures.
Not applicable.
PART II
Item 5.    Market for Registrant's Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CWT." At December 31, 2023, there were 57,723,738 common shares outstanding. There were 1,767 common stockholders of record as of February 12, 2024.
During 2023, we paid a cash dividend of $1.04 per common share, or $0.26 per quarter. During 2022, we paid a cash dividend of $1.00 per common share, or $0.25 per quarter. On January 25, 2024, our Board declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.28 per common share payable on February 23, 2024, to stockholders of record on February 12, 2024. This represents an indicated annual cash dividend of $1.12, and would be our 57th consecutive year of increasing the annual dividend and marks the 316th consecutive quarterly dividend.
We presently intend to pay quarterly cash dividends in the future consistent with past practices, subject to our earnings and financial condition, restrictions set forth in our debt instruments, regulatory requirements and such other factors as our Board may deem relevant.
Five-Year Performance Graph
The following performance graph compares the changes in the cumulative shareholder return on California Water Service Group's common stock with the cumulative total return on the Robert W. Baird Water Utility Index (which is comprised of Artisan Resources Corporation, American Water Works Company, Inc, American States Water Company, Essential Utilities, SJW Group, and York Water) and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index during the last five years ended December 31, 2023. The comparison assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2018, in California Water Service Group's common stock and in each of the forgoing indices and assumes reinvestment of dividends.
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Performance Graph Data
1880
The following descriptive data is supplied in accordance with Rule 304(d) of Regulations S-T:
201820192020202120222023
California Water Service Group100 108 113 151 127 109 
S&P 500100 131 156 200 164 207 
RW Baird Water Utility Index100 134 155 189 156 133 
An initial $100 investment in the common stock of California Water Service Group on December 31, 2018 including reinvestment of dividends would be worth $109 at the end of the 5-year period ending December 31, 2023.
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
None.
Item 6.   [Reserved]
Not applicable.
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Item 7.    Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
The following sections include a discussion of results for fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022 as well as certain 2021 results. The comparative results for fiscal 2022 with fiscal 2021 generally have not been included in this Form 10-K, but may be found in “Part II - Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Overview
Net Income Attributable to California Water Service Group
In 2023 and 2022, net income attributable to California Water Service Group was $51.9 million and $96.0 million, respectively. Earnings per diluted common share decreased $0.86 from $1.77 to $0.91 or 48.6% in 2023.
The $44.1 million decrease in net income was primarily due to the delayed final decision from the CPUC on Cal Water's pending 2021 GRC to set new revenue, rates, and regulatory mechanisms. The 2021 GRC was originally scheduled to be completed on December 31, 2022 with new revenue, rates, and regulatory mechanisms effective on January 1, 2023. On January 24, 2024, the assigned CPUC ALJs issued a PD on the litigated 2021 GRC, and concurrently, the assigned CPUC Commissioner issued an APD opposing and modifying certain decisions made by the ALJs. The PD issued by the ALJs was closer aligned to Cal Water’s requested revenue requirement whereas the APD issued by the assigned Commissioner was closer aligned to the Public Advocates’ requested revenue requirement. On February 13, 2024, Cal Water filed a request to change several elements in the PD and APD, including correction of possible 2021 GRC technical issues. We are unable to determine which of the two proposed decisions will be adopted by the CPUC, or if a second alternate proposed decision will be issued by the CPUC. As a result of the uncertainty of the decision that will ultimately be made by the CPUC, we are unable to reasonably estimate the impact on 2023 operating revenue and expenses. The 2021 GRC cumulative adjustment plus interest which is retroactive to January 1, 2023, will be recorded when the final decision is issued by the CPUC.
IRMA, MWRAM, AND DREMA
The IRMA tracks the difference between the current rates that continue to be billed starting January 1, 2023 (considered to be interim rates), and the rates that will eventually be approved pursuant to the CPUC's decision concerning Cal Water's 2021 GRC, plus any additional revenue changes approved since July 1, 2021 (final rates). We expect to recognize the regulatory asset and corresponding operating revenue once the 2021 GRC is approved by the CPUC.
The MWRAM tracks the difference between the revenue received for actual metered sales through tiered volumetric rates and the revenue that would have been received with the same actual metered sales if a uniform rate had been in effect. The MWRAM will be effective retroactive to January 1, 2023. We expect to recognize the regulatory asset and corresponding operating revenue once the 2021 GRC is approved by the CPUC.
The DREMA tracks lost revenues associated with reduced sales revenue when customer demand is affected by requests for voluntary and mandatory usage reductions in California and is in effect for us in 2023 when our regulated service territories in California are under voluntary and mandatory usage reductions. The final value of the DREMA will depend on the resolution of the 2021 GRC. We expect to recognize the regulatory asset and corresponding operating revenue once the 2021 GRC is approved by the CPUC and an advice letter for recovery is approved by the CPUC.
Operating revenue for 2023 does not include any benefit of proposed revenue rate relief that will be tracked in the IRMA or regulatory mechanisms (MWRAM and DREMA) due to the delay in approval of our 2021 GRC.
California Extended Water and Wastewater Arrearages Payment Program
The California Water and Wastewater Arrearages Payment Program was created by the California Legislature to be administered by the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) in order to provide relief to community water and wastewater systems for unpaid bills (arrearages) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Legislature allocated $985 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to pay down residential and commercial arrearages accrued between March 4, 2020 and June 15, 2021. In response to the Water Board’s survey, Cal Water reported $20.8 million in eligible customer arrearages and program administrative costs. Cal Water received 100% of the requested amount from the program in January 2022. Cal Water applied $17.2 million of these funds to identified past due customer balances during the first quarter of 2022 and returned the remaining balance.
In 2023, the California Extended Water and Wastewater Arrearages Payment Program was established and extended the relief period to include arrearages accrued from June 16, 2021 to December 31, 2022. In response to the extended program, Cal Water submitted an application for $83.0 million in eligible customer arrearages and program administrative costs that was subsequently accepted by the Water Board. Cal Water expects approval of the request in the first quarter of 2024.
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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
We maintain our accounting records in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America and as directed by the Commissions to which our operations are subject. The process of preparing financial statements requires the use of estimates on the part of management. The estimates used by management are based on historic experience and an understanding of current facts and circumstances. A summary of our significant accounting policies is listed in Note 2 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. The following sections describe those policies where the level of subjectivity, judgment, and variability of estimates could have a material impact on the financial condition, operating performance, and cash flows of the business.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue from contracts with customers
The Company principally generates operating revenue from contracts with customers by providing regulated water and wastewater services at tariff-rates authorized by the Commissions in the states in which they operate and non-regulated water and wastewater services at rates authorized by contracts with government agencies. Revenue from contracts with customers reflects amounts billed for the volume of consumption at authorized per unit rates, for a service charge, and for other authorized charges.
The Company satisfies its performance obligation to provide water and wastewater services over time as services are rendered. The Company applies the invoice practical expedient and recognizes revenue from contracts with customers in the amount for which the Company has a right to invoice. The Company has a right to invoice for the volume of consumption, for the service charge, and for other authorized charges. The measurement of sales to customers is generally based on the reading of their meters, which occurs on a systematic basis throughout the month.
Contract terms are generally short-term and at will by customers and, as a result, no separate financing component is recognized for the Company's collections from customers, which generally require payment within 30 days of billing. The Company applies judgment, based principally on historical payment experience, in estimating its customers’ ability to pay.
Certain customers are not billed for volumetric consumption, but are instead billed a flat rate at the beginning of each monthly service period. The amount billed is initially deferred and subsequently recognized over the monthly service period, as the performance obligation is satisfied. The deferred revenue balance or contract liability, which is included in "other accrued liabilities" on the consolidated balance sheets, is inconsequential.
Regulatory balancing account revenue
Regulatory balancing account revenue is revenue related to revenue mechanisms authorized in California by the CPUC, which the Company recognizes as revenue when it is objectively determinable, probable of recovery and expected to be collected within 24 months following the end of the accounting period. Regulatory balancing account revenues are not considered contracts with customers. To the extent that revenue is estimated to be collectible beyond 24 months, recognition is deferred. Due to a delay in resolution of the 2021 GRC, the Company did not recognize a benefit from regulatory revenue mechanisms in 2023. For 2022, the Company's authorized regulatory revenue mechanisms included the WRAM.
The WRAM decoupled revenue from the volume of the sales and allowed the Company to recognize the adopted level of volumetric revenues. The variance between adopted volumetric revenues and actual billed volumetric revenues for metered accounts was recorded as regulatory balancing account revenue. The WRAM concluded on December 31, 2022.
Regulatory balancing accounts also include revenue that is recognized for balancing accounts when it is probable that future recovery of previously incurred costs or future refunds that are to be credited to customers will occur through the ratemaking process. These mechanisms, such as the Modified Cost Balancing Account (MCBA), Conservation Expense Balancing Account (CEBA), Pension Cost Balancing Account (PCBA), and Health Cost Balancing Account (HCBA), generally provide for recovery of the adopted levels of expenses for purchased water, purchased power, pump taxes, water conservation program costs, pension, and health care. Variances between adopted and actual costs were recorded as regulatory balancing account revenue in 2022. In 2023, in connection with the CPUC's decision to discontinue the use of the WRAM, the variances for CEBA, HCBA, and PCBA are recorded against the originating expense. The MCBA concluded on December 31, 2022.



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The CPUC issued a decision effective August 27, 2020 requiring that Class A companies submitting GRC filings after the effective date be (i) precluded from proposing the use of a full decoupling WRAM in their next GRCs and (ii) allowed the use of MWRAM. In addition, the CPUC's decision allowed for ICBAs to replace the MCBA. The MWRAM tracks the difference between the revenue received for actual metered sales through the tiered volumetric rate and the revenue that would have been received with the same actual metered sales if a uniform rate had been in effect. The ICBA tracks differences between the authorized per-unit prices of water production costs and actual per-unit prices of water production costs. Cal Water complied with this decision in its 2021 GRC and the MWRAM and ICBAs are expected to be effective retroactive to January 1, 2023 once approved. The Company did not record a regulatory asset or regulatory liability for the MWRAM or ICBAs for 2023.
In September 2020, Cal Water filed an Application for Rehearing at the CPUC seeking to reverse the August 27, 2020 CPUC decision. In September 2021, the CPUC denied the Application for Rehearing. On or about October 27, 2021, Cal Water along with four other Class A California water utilities filed Petitions for a Writ of Review with the California Supreme Court (Court). On May 18, 2022, the Court issued writs granting review and ordered the CPUC and other filing parties to submit additional pleadings to the Court. The final pleadings were submitted on January 13, 2023. Cal Water anticipates that the Court will schedule an oral argument before it begins deliberations and issues its decision.
Regulated Utility Accounting
Because we operate almost exclusively in a regulated business, we are subject to the accounting standards for regulated utilities. The Commissions in the states in which we operate establish rates that are designed to permit the recovery of the cost of service and a return on investment. We capitalize and record regulatory assets for costs that would otherwise be charged to expense if it is probable that the incurred costs will be recovered in future rates. Regulatory assets are amortized over the future periods that the costs are expected to be recovered. If costs expected to be incurred in the future are currently being recovered through rates, we record those expected future costs as regulatory liabilities. In addition, we record regulatory liabilities when it is probable the Commissions will require a refund to be made to our customers over future periods.
Determining probability requires significant judgment by management and includes, but is not limited to, consideration of testimony presented in regulatory hearings, proposed regulatory decisions, final regulatory orders, and the strength or status of applications for rehearing or state court appeals.
If we determine that a portion of our assets used in utility operations is not recoverable in customer rates, we would be required to recognize the loss of the disallowed assets.
Income Taxes
We account for income taxes using the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax basis. We measure deferred tax assets and liabilities at enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. We recognize the effect on the deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rate in the period that includes the enactment date. We also assess the likelihood that deferred tax assets will be recovered in future taxable income and, to the extent recovery is not probable, a valuation allowance would be recorded.
We anticipate that future rate actions by the regulatory commissions will reflect revenue requirements for the tax effects of temporary differences recognized, which have previously been passed through to customers. The regulatory commissions have granted the Company permission to reflect the normalization of the tax benefits of the federal accelerated methods and available Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) for all assets placed in service after 1980. ITCs are deferred and amortized over the lives of the related properties for book purposes. The CPUC requires flow through accounting for state deferred taxes.
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted expansive tax legislation commonly referred to as the TCJA. Among other provisions, the TCJA reduced the federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning on January 1, 2018 and eliminated bonus depreciation for utilities. The TCJA required the Company to re-measure all existing deferred income tax assets and liabilities to reflect the federal tax rate reduction.
As of December 31, 2023, the TCJA refund liability was $92.5 million. We continue working with other state regulators to finalize the refund to confirm compliance with federal normalization rules.



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Pension and Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions (PBOP)
We incur costs associated with our pension and PBOP plans. To measure the expense of these benefits, our management must estimate compensation increases, mortality rates, future health cost increases and discount rates used to value related liabilities and to determine appropriate funding. Different estimates used by our management could result in significant variances in the cost recognized for pension and PBOP plans. The estimates used are based on historical experience, current facts, future expectations, and recommendations from independent advisors and actuaries. We use an investment advisor to provide advice in managing the plan's investments. We anticipate any increases in funding for the pension benefits plans will be recovered in future rate filings, thereby mitigating the financial impact. We believe it is probable that future costs will be recovered in future rates and therefore have recorded a regulatory asset in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Changes to the pension benefits actuarial assumptions can significantly affect pension costs, regulatory assets, and liabilities.
The following table reflects the sensitivity of pension amounts reported for the year ended December 31, 2023, to changes in actuarial assumptions:
Increase/(Decrease)
in Pension Benefits Actuarial Assumption
Increase/(Decrease)
in 2023 Net Periodic
Benefit Cost
Increase/(Decrease)
in Projected Benefit
Obligation as of
December 31, 2023
Dollars in thousands
Discount rate(0.5)%$3,494 $59,334 
Long-term rate of return on plan assets(0.5)%3,502 — 
Rate of compensation increases(0.5)%(3,218)(15,000)
Cost of living adjustment (1)(0.23)%(2,561)(15,387)
Discount rate0.5 %(6,084)(52,558)
Long-term rate of return on plan assets0.5 %(3,502)— 
Rate of compensation increases0.5 %3,017 15,884 
Cost of living adjustment0.5 %4,658 40,412 
______________________________________________________________________________
1.The cost of living adjustment was assumed at 2.23% and has a floor of 2.0%.
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Results of Operations
Operating Revenue
Operating revenue in 2023 was $794.6 million, a decrease of $51.8 million, or 6.1%, over 2022. Operating revenue in 2022 was $846.4 million, an increase of $55.5 million, or 7.0%, over 2021. The sources of change in operating revenue were:
 20232022
 Dollars in millions
Net change due to rate changes, usage, and other (1)$17.9 $6.2 
WRAM revenue (2)(74.3)42.7 
MCBA revenue (3)7.4 (11.2)
Other balancing account revenue (4)4.9 1.3 
Deferral of revenue (5)(7.7)16.5 
Net change$(51.8)$55.5 
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1)In 2023, the net change due to rate changes, usage, and other in the above table was primarily driven by rate increases in California of $30.7 million, which was partially offset by a 3.4% decrease in customer usage, which we believe is primarily due to higher winter precipitation in our California service territories and water conservation compared to 2022.
(2)WRAM revenue is the variance between adopted volumetric revenues and actual billed volumetric revenues for metered accounts. In 2023, the WRAM revenue decrease is due to the mechanism concluding as of December 31, 2022; as a result, no WRAM revenue was recorded for 2023. For 2022, we recognized $74.3 million of WRAM revenue as actual billed volumetric revenue was lower than adopted volumetric revenue.
(3)MCBA revenue is the variance between adopted water production costs and actual water production costs. In 2023, the MCBA revenue increase is due to the mechanism concluding as of December 31, 2022; as a result, no MCBA revenue was recorded for 2023. For 2022, we recorded a decrease to MCBA revenue of $7.4 million as actual water production costs were lower than adopted water production costs. As required by the MCBA mechanism, the difference in actual water production costs and adopted water production costs in California was recorded to operating revenue for 2022.
(4)The other balancing account revenue consists of the pension, conservation and health care balancing account revenues. Pension and conservation balancing account revenues are the differences between actual expenses and adopted rate recovery. Health care balancing account revenue is 85% of the difference between actual health care expenses and adopted rate recovery. In 2023, the adjustments for these balancing accounts were recorded as an increase to the originating expense accounts of $12.4 million rather than as an operating revenue decrease. In 2022, actual pension and health care costs were below the adopted costs and a decrease to revenue of $5.9 million was recognized for the difference. This was partially offset by an increase to revenue of $1.2 million recorded for the conservation balancing account as actual expenses were above adopted.
(5)The deferral of revenue consists of amounts that are expected to be collected from customers beyond 24 months following the end of the accounting period in which these revenues were recorded. Deferred revenue in 2023 remained flat, while the deferred revenue in 2022 decreased $7.7 million primarily due to the recognition of deferred balancing account revenue in 2022.
Water Production Expenses
Water production expenses, which consist of purchased water, purchased power, and pump taxes, comprise the largest segment of total operating expenses. Water production costs accounted for 40.2% and 39.7%, of total operating costs in 2023 and 2022, respectively. The rates charged for wholesale water supplies, electricity, and pump taxes are established by various public agencies. As such, these rates are beyond our control.






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The table below provides the change in water production expenses during the past 2 years:
 20232022
 AmountChange% ChangeAmountChange% Change
 Dollars in millions
Purchased water$223.8 $(0.7)(0.3)%$224.5 $(0.5)(0.2)%
Purchased power45.7 1.1 2.5 %44.6 7.5 20.2 %
Pump taxes19.0 2.8 17.3 %16.2 0.9 5.9 %
Total water production expenses$288.5 $3.2 1.1 %$285.3 $7.9 2.8 %
The principal factors affecting water production expenses are the quantity, price, and source of the water. Generally, water pumped from wells costs less than water purchased from wholesale suppliers.
The table below provides the amounts, percentage change, and source mix for the respective years:
 20232022
 MG% of Total% change from prior yearMG% of Total% change from prior year
 Millions of gallons (MG)
Source:    
Wells50,363 48.6 %(4.1)%52,534 49.1 %— 
Purchased47,865 46.3 %(5.2)%50,473 47.2 %(5.9)%
Surface5,256 5.1 %33.5 %3,938 3.7 %(10.1)%
Total103,484 100.0 %(3.2)%106,945 100.0 %(3.2)%
Purchased water expenses are affected by changes in quantities purchased, supplier prices, and cost differences between wholesale suppliers. The ICBA mechanism is designed to recover all changes in supplier prices for purchased water expenses and will be in effect for Cal Water once the 2021 GRC is resolved.
For 2023, the $0.7 million decrease in purchased water expenses is mostly due to a 5.2% decrease in purchased quantities offset by a blended purchased water wholesaler rate increase of 5.1%.
For 2023, the $2.8 million increase in pump taxes is primarily due to increases in pump tax rates.
Purchased power expenses are affected by the quantity of water pumped from wells and moved through the distribution system, rates charged by electric utility companies, and rate structures applied to usage during peak and non-peak times of the day or season. In 2023, purchased power expenses increased $1.1 million mainly due to an increase in rates from our power providers.
Changes in climate change regulations could increase the cost of power that in turn would result in an increase in the rates our power suppliers charge us. Any change in pricing of our purchased power expenses in California would be recovered from our customers through the ICBA mechanism once the 2021 GRC is resolved. Any change in power costs in other states would be requested to be recovered by the customers in those states. The impact of such regulations is dependent upon the enacted date, the factors that affect our suppliers' cost structure, and their ability to pass the costs to us in their approved tariffs. These items are not known at this time.
Administrative and General Expenses
Administrative and general expenses include payroll related to administrative and general functions, all employee benefits charged to expense accounts, insurance expenses, legal fees, expenses associated with being a public company, and general corporate expenses.
For 2023, administrative and general expenses increased $9.5 million, or 7.2%, compared to 2022. The increase was mainly due to an increase of $9.0 million in employee wages primarily driven by annual increases in employee wage rates and an increase in the number of employees.
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Other Operations Expenses
The components of other operations expenses include payroll, material and supplies, and contract service costs of operating the regulated water systems, including the costs associated with water transmission and distribution, pumping, water quality, meter reading, billing, operations of district offices, and water conservation programs.
For 2023, other operations expense decreased $3.7 million, or 3.2%, compared to 2022. The decrease was primarily due to an increase in deferred costs associated with deferred revenue of $6.3 million (see deferral of revenue above), a decrease in conservation expenses of $2.2 million, and a decrease in bad debt costs of $1.7 million, which was partially offset by an increase in employee labor costs of $3.6 million and an increase in water quality testing costs of $1.4 million.
Maintenance
For 2023, maintenance expenses increased $0.3 million, or 0.8%, compared to 2022 due to increases in reservoir, tank, well, and pumping equipment repairs.
Depreciation and Amortization
For 2023, depreciation and amortization increased $6.6 million, or 5.8%, compared to 2022 primarily due to utility plant placed in service in 2022.
Income Taxes
For 2023, income tax benefit increased $18.5 million, or 565.6%, to $15.2 million compared to 2022. The increase in 2023 was primarily due to a decrease in pre-tax operating income from the impact of the delayed final decision by the CPUC on Cal Water's pending 2021 GRC. The Company’s effective combined income tax rate for 2023 was (15.2%) as compared to 6.2% for 2022.
Property and Other Taxes
For 2023, property and other taxes increased $1.2 million, or 3.4%, compared to 2022. The increase was mostly due to an increase in our assessed property values for utility plant placed in service during the year.
Other Income and Expenses
For 2023, net other income and expenses increased $12.1 million, or 101.4% compared to 2022. The increase was due primarily to a $12.1 million increase in the unrealized gains from certain non-qualified benefit plan investments due to market conditions, $5.7 million increase in other components of net periodic benefit credit, and a $1.4 million increase in allowance for equity funds used during construction, which was partially offset by a $2.8 million decrease in non-regulated revenue and a $5.3 million increase in income tax expense.
Net Interest Expense
For 2023, net interest expense increased $5.5 million, or 12.4%, compared to 2022. The increase was primarily due to higher short-term borrowing rates and higher outstanding borrowings on our short-term credit facilities.
Rates and Regulation
The following is a summary of 2023 rate filings. A description of the "Type of Filing" can be found in the "Item 1 - Rates and Regulation" section above. California decisions and resolutions may be found on the CPUC website at www.cpuc.ca.gov.
Type of FilingDecision/ResolutionEffective DateIncrease
(Decrease)
Annual Revenue
CA District/
Subsidiary
GRC and Offset Filings    
2023 Expense OffsetAL 2465-AJan 2023$5.1 million5 Districts
2021 GRC Interim RatesAL 2475May 20234% or 1.5%18 Districts
2023 Expense OffsetAL 2488July 2023$24.6 million11 Districts
Cost of CapitalAL 2491July 2023($7 million)21 Districts
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Water Supply
Our source of supply varies among our operating districts. Certain districts obtain all of their supply from wells; some districts purchase all of their supply from wholesale suppliers; and other districts obtain supply from a combination of wells and wholesale suppliers. A small portion of supply comes from surface sources and is processed through Company-owned water treatment plants. To the best of management's knowledge, we are meeting water quality, environmental, and other regulatory standards for all Company-owned systems.
California's normal weather pattern yields little precipitation between mid-spring and mid-fall. The Washington Water service areas receive precipitation in all seasons, with the heaviest amounts during the winter. New Mexico Water's rainfall is heaviest in the summer monsoon season. Hawaii Water receives precipitation throughout the year, with the largest amounts in the winter months. Water usage in all service areas is highest during the warm and dry summers and declines in the cool winter months. Rain and snow during the winter months replenish underground water aquifers and fill reservoirs, providing the water supply for subsequent delivery to customers. Management believes that supply pumped from underground aquifers and purchased from wholesale suppliers will be adequate to meet customer demand during 2024 and thereafter. However, water rationing may be required in future periods, if declared by the state or local jurisdictions. Long-term water supply plans are developed for each of our districts to help assure an adequate water supply under various operating and supply conditions. Some districts have unique challenges in meeting water quality standards, but management believes that supplies will meet current standards using current treatment processes.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Cash flow from Operations
During 2023, we generated cash flow from operations of $217.8 million, compared to $243.8 million during 2022. The decrease in 2023 was primarily due to a decrease in net income that was primarily due to the delayed final decision from the CPUC on Cal Water's pending 2021 GRC and the net receipt of $17.2 million from the Water Arrearages Payment Program in 2022.
The water business is seasonal. Billed revenue is lower in the cool, wet winter months when less water is used compared to the warm, dry summer months when water use is the highest. This seasonality results in the possible need for short-term borrowings under the bank lines of credit in the event cash is not sufficient to cover operating costs during the winter period. The increase in cash flow during the summer allows for a pay down of short-term borrowings. Customer water usage can be lower than normal in years when more than normal precipitation falls in our service areas or temperatures are lower than normal, especially in the summer months. The reduction in water usage reduces cash flow from operations and increases the need for short-term bank borrowings. Aged accounts receivable past due more than 60 days decreased from $17.6 million as of December 31, 2022 to $15.5 million as of December 31, 2023 mostly due to the resumption of the customer account write off process and offering of a payment plan option for residential customers in California who have past-due balances larger than $50 dollars.
Investing Activities
During 2023 and 2022, we used $383.7 million and $327.8 million, respectively, of cash for capital expenditures, both Company-funded and developer-funded. Cash used in investing activities fluctuates each year largely due to the availability of construction resources and our ability to obtain construction permits in a timely manner.
Financing Activities
During 2023, we borrowed $227.8 million, and paid down $120.0 million on our unsecured revolving credit facilities for general corporate purposes. We also received $21.2 million of advances and contributions in aid of construction, which was reduced by refunds to developers of $9.4 million. We paid $1.8 million for matured First Mortgage Bonds and other long-term debt obligations. In addition, we issued $115.1 million of Company common stock through our at-the-market equity plan and our employee stock purchase plan.
On March 31, 2023, the Company and Cal Water entered into the Company and Cal Water credit facilities, which provide for unsecured revolving credit facilities of up to an initial aggregate amount of $600.0 million for a term of five years. The Company and subsidiaries that it designates may borrow up to $200.0 million under the Company's revolving credit facility (the Company facility). Cal Water may borrow up to $400.0 million under the Cal Water revolving credit facility (the Cal Water facility). Additionally, the credit facilities may be increased by up to an incremental $150.0 million under the Cal Water facility and $50.0 million under the Company facility, subject in each case to certain conditions.


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The under-collected net WRAM and MCBA receivable balances were $64.2 million and $104.7 million as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. The decrease of $40.5 million from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023 was primarily due to customer billings during 2023. The under-collected net WRAM and MCBA receivable balances were primarily financed by Cal Water with short-term and long-term financing arrangements to meet operational cash requirements. Interest on the under-collected net WRAM and MCBA receivable balances, the interest recoverable from customers, is limited to the current 90-day commercial paper rate, which is significantly lower than Cal Water's short and long-term financing rates.
At the January 2024 meeting, the Board declared the quarterly dividend, increasing it for the 57th consecutive year. The quarterly dividend was raised from $0.26 to $0.28 per common share. This represents an indicated annual rate of $1.12 per common share. Dividends have been paid for 78 consecutive years. The annual dividends paid per common share in 2023, 2022, and 2021 were $1.04, $1.00 and $0.92, respectively. Earnings not paid as dividends are reinvested in the business for the benefit of stockholders. The dividend payout ratio was 113.8% in 2023, 56.5% in 2022, and 46.9% in 2021 for an average of 72.4% over the 3-year period. Our long-term targeted dividend payout ratio is 60%.
Short-Term Financing
Short-term liquidity is provided by the bank lines of credit described above and by internally generated funds. As of December 31, 2023, there were borrowings of $180.0 million outstanding on our unsecured revolving lines of credit, compared to $70.0 million outstanding on our unsecured revolving lines of credit as of December 31, 2022.
Given our ability to access our lines of credit on a daily basis, cash balances are managed to levels required for daily cash needs and excess cash is invested in short-term or cash equivalent instruments. Minimal operating levels of cash are maintained for Washington Water, New Mexico Water, Hawaii Water, and Texas Water.
The Company and subsidiaries that it designates may borrow up to $200.0 million under the Company facility. Cal Water may borrow up to $400.0 million under the Cal Water facility; however, all borrowings must be repaid within 12 months unless a different period is required or authorized by the CPUC. The proceeds from the Company and Cal Water facilities may be used for working capital purposes.
The Company and Cal Water facilities contain affirmative and negative covenants and events of default customary for credit facilities of this type including, among other things, limitations and prohibitions relating to additional indebtedness, liens, mergers, and asset sales. Also, the Company and Cal Water facilities contain financial covenants that require the Company and its subsidiaries’ consolidated total capitalization ratio not to exceed 66.7% and an interest coverage ratio of three or more (each as defined in the respective credit agreements). As of December 31, 2023, our consolidated total capitalization ratio was 46.4% and the interest coverage ratio was greater than four. In summary, as of such date, we are in compliance with all of the covenant requirements and are eligible to use the full amount of the undrawn portion of the Company and Cal Water facilities.
Long-Term Financing
Long-term financing is accomplished using both debt and equity. Cal Water was authorized to issue $700.0 million of debt and common stock to finance capital projects and operations by a CPUC decision dated November 5, 2020. In addition, the decision retained approximately $94.0 million of prior financing authority and determined that refinancing long-term debt did not count against the authorization. The CPUC requires that any loans from Cal Water to the Company be at arm’s length. This restriction did not materially affect the Company's ability to meet its cash obligations in 2023. Management does not expect this restriction to have a material impact on the Company's ability to meet its cash obligations in 2024 and beyond.
Long-term financing, which includes First Mortgage Bonds, senior notes, other debt securities, and common stock, has typically been used to replace short-term borrowings and fund capital expenditures. Internally generated funds, after making dividend payments, provide positive cash flow, but have not been at a level to meet the needs of our capital expenditure requirements. Management expects this trend to continue given our capital expenditures plan for the next five years. Some capital expenditures are funded by payments received from developers for contributions in aid of construction or advances for construction. Funds received for contributions in aid of construction are non-refundable, whereas funds classified as advances in construction are refundable. Management believes long-term financing is available to meet our cash flow needs through issuances in both debt and equity instruments.
Additional information regarding the bank borrowings and long-term debt is presented in Notes 7 and 8 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.



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Equity Issuance
On April 29, 2022, we entered into an equity distribution agreement to sell shares of our common stock having an aggregate gross sales price of up to $350.0 million from time to time depending on market conditions through an at-the-market equity program over the next three years. We intend to use the net proceeds from these sales, after deducting commissions on such sales and offering expenses, for general corporate purposes, which may include working capital, construction and acquisition expenditures, investments and repurchases, and redemptions of securities. Additional information regarding this program is presented in Note 6 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Summarized Financial Information for Guarantors and the Issuer of Guaranteed Securities.
On April 17, 2009, Cal Water (Issuer) issued $100.0 million aggregate principal amount of 5.500% First Mortgage Bonds due 2040, all of which are fully and unconditionally guaranteed by the Company (Guarantor). Certain subsidiaries of the Company do not guarantee the security and are referred to as Non-guarantors. The Guarantor fully, absolutely, irrevocably and unconditionally guarantees the due and punctual payment when due, whether at stated maturity, by acceleration, by notice of prepayment or otherwise, of the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on the bonds. The bonds rank equally among Cal Water's other first mortgage bonds.
The following tables present summarized financial information of the Issuer subsidiary and the Guarantor. The information presented below excludes eliminations necessary to arrive at the information on a consolidated basis. In presenting the summarized financial statements, the equity method of accounting has been applied to the Guarantor interests in the Issuer. The summarized information excludes financial information of the Non-issuers, including earnings from and investments in these entities.
Summarized Statement of Operations
(in thousands)20232022
 IssuerGuarantorIssuerGuarantor
Net sales$720,577 $— $775,382 $— 
Gross profit$449,221 $— $506,890 $— 
Income from operations$82,157 $590 $124,464 $363 
Equity in earnings of guarantor$49,998 $— $94,339 
Net income$57,168 $51,376 $92,769 $95,263 
Summarized Balance Sheet Information
(in thousands)As of December 31, 2023As of December 31, 2022
 IssuerGuarantorIssuerGuarantor
Current assets$213,469 $10,126 $208,962 $31,913 
Intercompany receivable from guarantor & non-issuer subsidiaries
3,664 44,882 3,339 34,100 
Other assets479,642 1,190,076 450,668 1,080,720 
Long-term intercompany receivable from non-issuer subsidiaries— 82,610 — 37,869 
Net utility plant3,487,788 — 2,805,242 — 
Total assets$4,184,563 $1,327,694 $3,468,211 $1,184,602 
Current liabilities$351,964 $53,069 $242,538 $35,260 
Intercompany payable to non-issuer subsidiaries— — 562 — 
Long-term debt1,052,350 — 1,051,994 — 
Other liabilities1,595,852 3,068 1,098,378 2,485 
Total Liabilities$3,000,166 $56,137 $2,393,472 $37,745 
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We do not have commitments or obligations, including contingent obligations, arising from arrangements with unconsolidated entities or persons that have, or are reasonably likely to have, a material current or future effect on our financial condition, changes in financial condition, revenues or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, cash requirements, or capital resources even when the arrangement results in no obligation being reported in our consolidated balance sheets.
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Contractual Obligations
The contractual obligations presented in the table below represent our estimates of future payments under fixed contractual obligations and commitments. Changes in our business needs, cancellation provisions and changes in interest rates, as well as action by third parties and other factors, may cause these estimates to change. Therefore, our actual payments in future periods may vary from those presented in the table below.
The following table summarizes our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2023. We generally expect to satisfy these commitments with cash on hand and cash provided by operating activities.
TotalLess than 1 Year1-3 Years3-5 YearsAfter 5 Years
Long-term debt (a)$1,054,396 $377 $70,711 $20,652 $962,656 
Interest payments942,402 44,124 85,116 81,983 731,179 
Advances for construction199,448 10,800 19,662 18,382 150,604 
Pension and postretirement benefits (b)387,158 27,599 61,926 71,892 225,741 
Finance lease obligations (c)4,244 1,034 3,210 — — 
Operating lease obligations15,691 2,244 3,696 3,007 6,744 
Water supply contracts (d)599,722 33,362 65,420 65,422 435,518 
Total contractual obligations$3,203,061 $119,540 $309,741 $261,338 $2,512,442 
_______________________________________________________________________________
a.Long-term debt payments include annual sinking fund payments on First Mortgage Bonds, maturities of long-term debt, and annual payments on other long-term obligations, exclusive of unamortized debt issuance costs of $4.9 million.
b.Pension and postretirement benefits include $2.8 million of short-term pension obligations.
c.Finance lease obligations represent total cash payments to be made in the future and includes interest expense of $0.3 million.
d.Estimated annual contractual obligations are based on the same payment levels as 2023.
For pension and postretirement benefits other than pensions obligations, see Note 11 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Advances for construction represent annual contract refunds to developers for the cost of water systems paid for by the developers. The contracts are non-interest bearing, and refunds are generally on a straight-line basis over a 40-year period. System and facility leases include obligations associated with leasing water systems and rents for office space.
For finance and operating lease obligations, see Note 14 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Cal Water has water supply contracts with wholesale suppliers in 13 of its operating districts and for the two leased systems in Hawthorne and Commerce. For each contract, the cost of water is established by the wholesale supplier and is generally beyond our control. The amount paid annually to the wholesale suppliers is charged to purchased water expense on our statements of operations. Most contracts do not require minimum annual payments and vary with the volume of water purchased. For more details related to water supply contracts, see Note 14 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Capital Requirements
Capital requirements consist primarily of new construction expenditures for expanding and replacing utility plant facilities and the acquisition of water systems. They also include refunds of advances for construction.
Company-funded and developer-funded utility plant expenditures were $383.7 million and $327.8 million in 2023 and 2022, respectively. A majority of capital expenditures was associated with mains and water treatment equipment.
For 2024, our capital program is dependent in part on the timing and nature of regulatory approvals in connection with Cal Water's 2021 GRC. Capital expenditures in California for 2023, excluding developer-funded expenditures, were $326.5 million. Cal Water proposed to the CPUC spending $1.0 billion on water infrastructure investments in 2022-2024. Capital expenditures in California are evaluated in the context of the pending GRC and may change as the case moves forward. We expect our annual capital expenditure to continue to increase during the next five years due to increasing needs to replace and maintain infrastructure.
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Management expects there will be developer-funded expenditures in 2024 and expects that these expenditures will be financed by developers through refundable advances for construction and non-refundable contributions in aid of construction. Developers are required to deposit the cost of a water construction project with us prior to our commencing construction work, or the developers may construct the facilities themselves and deed the completed facilities to us. Funds are generally received in advance of incurring costs for these projects. Advances are normally refunded over a 40-year period without interest. Future payments for advances received are listed under contractual obligations above. Because non-Company-funded construction activity is solely at the discretion of developers, we cannot predict the level of future activity. The cash flow impact is expected to be minor due to the structure of the arrangements.
Capital Structure
Total equity was $1,430.3 million at December 31, 2023, compared to $1,322.4 million at December 31, 2022. The Company sold 2,025,891 and 1,802,063 shares of its common stock in 2023 and 2022, respectively through its at-the-market equity program.
Total capitalization, including the current portion of long-term debt, was $2,483.8 million at December 31, 2023 and $2,378.2 million at December 31, 2022. Cal Water repaid $1.8 million of other long-term debt obligations in 2023 and $5.4 million 2022 for matured First Mortgage Bonds and other long-term debt obligations. In future periods, the Company intends to issue common stock and long-term debt to finance our operations. The capitalization ratios will vary depending upon the method we choose to finance our operations.
At December 31, capitalization ratios were:
20232022
Equity57.6 %55.6 %
Long-term debt42.4 %44.4 %
The return (from both regulated and non-regulated operations) on average equity was 3.8% in 2023 compared to 7.7% in 2022. Cal Water does not include construction work in progress in its regulated rate base; instead, Cal Water was authorized to record allowance for funds used during construction (or AFUDC) on construction work in progress, effective January 1, 2017. Construction work in progress for Cal Water was $253.9 million at December 31, 2023 and $219.2 million at December 31, 2022.
Acquisitions
There were no significant acquisitions in 2023 or 2022.
Real Estate Program
We own real estate. From time to time, certain parcels are deemed no longer used or useful for water utility operations. Most surplus properties have a low-cost basis. We developed a program to realize the value of certain surplus properties through sale or lease of those properties. The program will be ongoing for a period of several years. There were no significant sales in 2023 and 2022. As sales are dependent on real estate market conditions, future sales, if any, may or may not be at prior year levels.
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Item 7A.    Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.
We do not participate in hedge arrangements, such as forward contracts, swap agreements, options, or other contractual agreements to mitigate the impact of market fluctuations on our assets, liabilities, production, or contractual commitments. We operate only in the United States and, therefore, are not subject to foreign currency exchange rate risks.
Interest Rate Risk
We are subject to interest rate risk, although this risk is lessened because we operate in a regulated industry. If interest rates were to increase, management believes customer rates would increase accordingly, subject to Commission approval in future GRC filings. The majority of our debt is long-term at a fixed rate. Interest rate risk does exist on short-term borrowings within our credit facilities, as these interest rates are variable. We also have interest rate risk on new financing, as higher interest cost may occur on new debt if interest rates increase.
Over the next 12 months, none of the $1,052.8 million of existing long-term debt instruments are expected to mature. Applying a hypothetical 10 percent increase in the rate of interest charged on those borrowings would not have a material effect on our earnings.
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Item 8.    Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
To the Shareholders and the Board of Directors of California Water Service Group

Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of California Water Service Group and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, the related consolidated statements of operations, equity, and cash flows, for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2023, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2023, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also, in our opinion, the Company has maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by COSO.

Basis for Opinions
The Company’s management is responsible for these financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management's Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audits of the financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud and performing procedures to respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.







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Definition and Limitations of Internal Control over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current-period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

Regulatory Assets and Liabilities - Regulated Utility Accounting— Refer to Notes 2 and 4 to the financial statements
Critical Audit Matter Description
The Company provides regulated utility services under the rules and regulations of the California Public Utilities Commission (the "Commission") in California. The Commission establishes rates that are designed to permit the recovery of the cost of service and a return on investment. The Company’s rates are subject to regulatory rate-setting processes including a General Rate Case proceeding. Because the Company operates almost exclusively in a regulated business, the Company is subject to the accounting standards for regulated entities.
The Company capitalizes and records regulatory assets for costs that would otherwise be charged to expense if it is probable that the incurred costs will be recovered in future rates. If costs expected to be incurred in the future are currently being recovered through rates, the Company records those expected future costs as regulatory liabilities. In addition, the Company records regulatory liabilities when it is probable the Commission will require a refund to be made to the Company’s customers over future periods. Determining probability requires significant judgment by management and includes, but is not limited to, consideration of testimony presented in regulatory hearings, proposed regulatory decisions, final regulatory orders, and the strength or status of applications for rehearing or state court appeals. If the Company determines that a portion of the Company’s assets used in utility operations is not recoverable in customer rates, the Company would be required to recognize the loss of the disallowed assets.
We identified regulated utility accounting as a critical audit matter due to the significant judgments made by management in (1) determining the probability that incurred costs will be recovered in future rates and (2) determining the probability the Commission will require a refund to be made to the Company’s customers over future periods. Given that management considers regulatory hearings, proposed decisions, and final orders in making significant regulatory utility accounting judgments, auditing these judgments required specialized knowledge of regulatory utility accounting.





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How the Critical Audit Matter Was Addressed in the Audit
Our audit procedures related to the significant regulatory utility accounting judgments in determining the probability that incurred cost will be recovered in future rates and in determining the probability the Commission will require a refund to be made to the Company’s customers over future periods included the following, among others:
We tested the effectiveness of management’s controls over the determination of regulatory assets or liabilities and the evaluation of (1) the probability determination of recovery in future rates of costs incurred as regulatory assets, and (2) the probability of a refund over future periods that should be reported as regulatory liabilities.
We read relevant regulatory orders issued by the Commission for the Company, procedural filings, and other publicly available information, if applicable, to evaluate management’s judgments in determining the probability that incurred cost will be recovered in future rates and in determining the probability the Commission will require a refund to be made to the Company’s customers over future periods in accounting for regulatory assets and liabilities.
For regulatory matters in process, we inspected the Company’s filings with the Commission, if applicable, that may impact the Company’s future rates, to evaluate whether information in such filings was consistent with the significant judgments made by management.
We evaluated the Company’s disclosures related to regulated utility accounting, including the balances recorded and regulatory developments.

/s/ DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP )
San Francisco, California
February 29, 2024

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2008.
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CALIFORNIA WATER SERVICE GROUP
Consolidated Balance Sheets
 December 31,
 20232022
 (In thousands, except per share data)
ASSETS
Utility plant:  
Land$47,002 $45,861 
Depreciable plant and equipment4,557,964 4,215,619 
Construction work in progress287,596 247,013 
Intangible assets32,921 27,779 
Total utility plant4,925,483 4,536,272 
Less accumulated depreciation and amortization(1,152,228)(1,063,341)
Net utility plant3,773,255 3,472,931 
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents39,591 62,100 
Restricted cash45,375 22,925 
Receivables:  
Customers, net59,349 55,079 
Regulatory balancing accounts64,240 66,826 
Other, net16,431 20,932 
Unbilled revenue, net36,999 33,140 
Materials and supplies at weighted average cost16,170 12,564 
Taxes, prepaid expenses, and other assets18,130 21,969 
Total current assets296,285 295,535 
Other assets:
Regulatory assets257,621 283,620 
Goodwill37,039 36,814 
Other231,333 175,913 
Total other assets525,993