EBMUD proposing rate increase of more than 18 percent over 2 years

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Like several water districts in the Bay Area, East Bay MUD is proposing a large increase in the rates this summer. Some ratepayers who did their part by cutting consumption during the drought aren't happy.

The rains did their part and the reservoirs are brimming, but that doesn't mean EBMUD customers will get a break on their rates.

Likely, quite the opposite despite the wet winter and partly due to the fact that ratepayers got really good at not using water.

"Our customers have done a great job at conserving," EBMUD spokesperson Andrea Pook said.

Overall, EBMUD customers cut their water usage by 20 percent. Less water consumption means lower revenues for EBMUD, which counts 90 percent of its costs as fixed.

"There were some projects that were deferred after the last drought as a cost-cutting measure. We do not want to cut those costs any longer," Pook said.

That's why the district is proposing a rate increase of more than 18 percent over two years, starting with more than 9 percent this summer.

"I have to say, I'm a little disappointed because we've all done our fair share of conserving over the last three years probably," EBMUD customer Karen Alberts said.

Much of the new revenues would go toward projects like one in Lafayette, where old pipes are being replaced with a more reliable conveyance system.

"I think they've got fixed costs. They've got to make it up somehow. I'm OK as long as everyone's saving, conserving water," customer John Schelling said.

EBMUD will hold public hearings on the potential rate increases in July.

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