City council fights Cal Water rate hike

Posted at 11:40 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 02:40:38-04

The city council put up a fight against Cal Water's proposed rate hike today saying it is unfair to the residents.

It was an intense back and forth between the council and representatives from Cal Water tonight, each council member expressing their frustration about the rate increase and how it will affect their constituents.

The council voted unanimously to extend Cal Water’s franchise for only two years instead of the 50 years that was proposed.

The council questioned a proposed 16.9% rate increase that is pending the approval of the California’s Public Utilities Commission.

The council's concerns are that many of the residents are low income struggling to pay their water bills and that they are already being surcharged significantly because of the drought.

If approved, Cal Water says the 74 million dollars from this rate increase would be used to repair old pipes, aging infrastructure and to install new meters. This rate hike would increase rates for two thirds of Bakersfield residents a total of 17% over the next three years.

At the next city council meeting the council will have a public hearing welcoming the community to come and speak about the issue.