Water rate hike?

Cal Water’s proposal would mean bigger bills for Chico’s ratepayers

Cal Water customers in Chico might see a rate hike starting in 2017 under a new plan. A typical monthly bill would increase from $46.48 to $55.10.

Pete Townsley, vice president of regulatory matters for Cal Water, outlined the proposal during the Chico City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Water has become increasingly unaffordable for the state's smaller communities, he said. In response, the California Public Utilities Commission has directed Cal Water to consolidate—i.e., spread the cost over a greater number of people by expanding the boundaries of cities' service areas to include smaller communities.

Butte County Supervisor Maureen Kirk argued that consolidation would place an undue burden on local ratepayers, “many of whom are of limited means,” she said. The council voted unanimously to agendize the issue for a future meeting.