Apr 27, 2016 2:17 AM by Darren Leeds
California Water Service wants to raise rates on North State customers and that has a lot of people steaming mad. The California Public Utilities Commission held a public forum where the public could learn and ask questions about the proposed water rate increases.
Cal Water says a lot of their infrastructure is out-dated and needs to be replaced, that's one of the largest factors driving this rate increase.
Paul Townsley says, "A lot of our systems were built 50 years ago, 60 years ago, 70 years ago. It is time to be more aggressive in the replacement of especially our underground pipes. So in this rate case we are asking the commission to allow us to replace more pipes per year than we did historically."
Cal Water is asking for three big rate increases through 2019 with the largest increase happening the first year. Cal Water customers living in Chico, Oroville, Willows and Marysville could possibly be looking at 18-20% increases potentially starting in 2017. Residents say that increase is way too high.
Maureen Kirk says, "Their typical water bill that they showed is not typical, it's very low. It's a big chunk of money for people and it's every month and it would be for three years and it just keeps going on and on and on and we just can't afford it."
One phrase used frequently was to "get out of the terrible financial relationship" with Cal Water.
Residents say the current rates are already hurting more than their bank accounts.
Stephanie Tousley says, "I can't afford to even have a garden, and I can't afford to have a lawn and most of my neighbors can't either. Even before the drought and the Governor telling people to stop watering their lawns, we had tons of brown yards and it brings down the property value."
One Oroville woman said she had her extended family come out to visit and her water bill that month was more than $400.
Another Public Utilities Commission meeting will take place in Marysville Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Cal Trans District Headquarters. California's Public Utilities Commission will take into consideration everything discussed Tuesday night and at Wednesday's meeting before making a decision. Cal Water expects the PUC to make a decision at the end of this year.
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