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EBMUD May Forbear Water Rate Hikes

The East Bay Municipal Utility District may not implement water surcharges after all. (Google Street View)

The East Bay Municipal Utility District may not implement water surcharges after all. (Google Street View)

The December storms that ruined commutes and kept people at home may have been metaphorical clouds with a silver lining – the extra water means that the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) might not implement a planned temporary 14 percent water rate surcharge this month.

Abby Figueroa, Senior Public Information Representative for the water and sewer utility, told Action Alameda News, “staff is monitoring the January weather forecasts and will reevaluate and make a decision next week. If it is decided to turn on Freeport, turning on the pumps would start no sooner than Jan 19 and the customer surcharge would begin appearing on bills after that.”

EBMUD had been planning to spend $16 million over four months to purchase and pump water from the Freeport Regional Water Facility in Sacramento County; the expense would be recovered with the surcharge passed on to water users.

On Tuesday, January 13th, the EBMUD Board of Directors will hear an update on the water supply. Figueroa said that the utility staff already have the approval they need to take water from Freeport, if needed, in which case consumers should expect to see higher bills.

According to the utility’s website, as of November 30th, 2014, all district customers combined – residential, commercial and irrigation – had reduced their use 12.6% compared to 2013.

Increased supply from EBMUD’s normal Mokelumne River watershed source, and reduced consumption, bode well for staving off a rate increase.

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