EBMUD to vote on water rate increase

June 9, 2009 12:45:16 PM PDT
East Bay Municipal Utility District directors are scheduled to vote today on a proposal to increase water rates by an average of 7.5 percent for each of the next two years.

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Staff members for the water district, which serves 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, are also recommending 5 percent increases three and four years from now.

However, board members have said that bills for most customers would remain about the same as they are now because the district also plans to end mandatory water rationing effective July 1, which means that the 10 percent drought rate increase that was imposed last year will expire.

If the new water rates are approved today, they would go into effect July 1, the same time that the drought rate increase would end.

Although precipitation this winter was below normal for the third straight year, the level of 88 percent of normal was much higher than last year's total and is enough to end rationing, district officials said.

EBMUD's customers have reduced their water usage, but the downside is that it has led to a reduction in the revenues the district has received.

Another reason that revenues are down is that EBMUD is receiving lower connection fees for homes because of the real estate crisis.

The vote will take place at the board's 1:15 p.m. meeting at EBMUD's headquarters at 375 11th St. in Oakland.

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