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More About Cal Water Rate Hike Plan

This week the Public Utilities Commission is holding a series of public meetings so the public can learn more about Cal Water's plan to raise rates for upgrades.

Posted: Feb 12, 2019 3:35 AM

Chico, Calif. -- Cal Water has a plan to increase rates in 2020 to fund infrastructure upgrades.

Chico's water infrastructure was put down in the 1920's, and every three years, Cal Water chooses it's top priority upgrades and makes a plan to get the work done.

"These projects get paid for over time so when you have a million dollar project, to pay for that in a three-year cycle? It'd be a signifcant impact to the customers. It's an investment over time and that why you keep seeing them coming up," said George Barber, the District Manager for Cal Water Chico & Oroville.

But that means, you're paying for the work in the form an a rate hike.

This one is about 8.5% in Chico, 10.4% in Oroville.

That may sound steep, but Cal Water's director says for a single family household, it's actually more like 4 - 12 cents a day increase.

Last week, the City of Oroville formally denounced Cal Water's plan to up what Oroville customers pay by about 10%.

They didn't talk about taking action, necessarily, but there may be something more down the pipe.

Chico's Mayor Randall Stone says one option that's not on the agenda but may be eventually on the table is to exit Cal Water and create a local water district between the two cities.

That could take years if it does happen, so for now, customers should just prepare for their bills to keep going up as the 100-year old infrastructure needs upgrading.

And some are ok with that.

I'm from Oregon and I was paying $50 for sewer, $50 for water. Here it's half price, and it's going to take years before they raise it$3 or $4," said Chico Cal Water customer Tim Bridgeford.

"Are we really getting better infrastructure? I'd like to see some details.. on what those fees are going to, it seems like there's always a fee taking stuff up and I don't agree without seeing some data showing what the improvements will be," said Cal Water customer Chris Banks.

If you want to take part in the discussion and really get an understanding of what they have planned, the Public Utilities Commission has a meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at BCAG, 326 Huss Drive, and in Oroville at 6 p.m. Feb. 14, in the Oroville City Council Chambers, 1735 Montgomery St.

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