Water rationing ended, rates to increase

April 14, 2009 12:28:30 PM PDT
There is good news and bad news for customers of the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

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The good news is that water rationing will be over soon and customers did a great job of conserving. The bad news is that they are about to face higher rates because they did such a good job.

When it is all said and done, East Bay MUD customers are going to be paying 2.5 percent less on their bills starting in July, a 10 percent rate decrease, followed by a 7.5 percent rate increase.

This follows a unanimous vote by the board Tuesday morning. The water rates that went into effect on July 1st are going away and the mandatory 15 percent water restrictions are gone.

A combination of a very wet couple of months and conservation efforts by customers mean the worst case scenario is not so bad right now.

"The drought surcharge had a 10 percent increase in addition to the regular rate increase. And, then if you didn't meet your allocation element, then you had a $2 surcharge per water unit, which is 148 gallons. So, what we're saying is that we're looking at a 7.5 percent rate increase but we're not going to have the drought surcharge," said EBMUD board member John Coleman.

The 7.5 percent rate increase wipes out most of the 10 percent drought reduction. It is largely because customers are using much less water. On top of that, another 7.5 percent rate increase is expected next year.

The average bill right now is somewhere around $35 to $40. It will be going down $1 for the next year, before it goes back up again.

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