Written by Miguel Palacios
In the midst of one of the most difficult times in modern history, the City of San Diego is making plans to raise water rates. City officials announced last Thursday that the proposed rate hikes for water and sewage would help cover the costs of updating the city’s infrastructure. It seems inconceivable that at a time when people have gone months without being able to pay their utility bills, the city is proposing to increase rates.
As reported two weeks ago by San Diego News Desks’ own Juan Sebastian Fragozo, many people have been unable to afford their utility bills during this pandemic and have had no choice but to let them go delinquent. Because of the state of emergency, utility companies are not allowed to discontinue service due to nonpayment, but they are still billing customers. One customer reported that her utility bills had amassed to nearly $15,000. And once the state of emergency is lifted, the utility companies will surely attempt to collect on debts and start shutting down services due to nonpayment.
California Senate Republicans have recognized this problem and are working to cancel utility debt for struggling Californians.
Nevertheless, the city plans to move forward with its proposal, calling for a 5% rate increase on waste water services and a 2% increase in regional water costs starting in 2022. According to KUSI News, over the next 5 years, the rates will increase by 12%.
The proposals for the water and sewage rate increases are to be presented to the City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee on April 7th and a full vote by the City Council is expected by mid-September.