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Pismo Beach moving forward with plans to increase water rates

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 18:51:29-05

UPDATE 2/5: The comparison water rates graph, previously provided by the City of Pismo Beach, has been updated to more accurately reflect community water rates in the county. Here is a more accurate comparison:

A comparison chart of water rates from SLO County communities.
Courtesy: City of Pismo Beach

People in Pismo Beach can expect to pay more for their water over the next four years.

The Pismo Beach City Council voted this month to propose a new water rate schedule after a community water study was complete.

The city says the additional money will go towards a number of sustainable clean water and wastewater projects.

The average residential customer with a three-quarter inch meter could see about a $5 bi-monthly increase in 2019 with cumulative increases after that.

“This first increase, I think we can understand because it’s going to go towards a good cause. I think maybe the second one that is forecasted might be a little tougher on people with fixed incomes,” said Wayne Angeloty, a Pismo Beach resident.

By 2023, the average customer can expect to pay about $60 more than what they are currently paying every other month.

Some members of the community think the water rates are high enough already.

“I understand the need to keep up with changes in the water supply and so on, but I think there are some things that can be done before we have to go to a rate increase,” said Brock Thoene, a Pismo Beach resident.

Based on the city’s graph, Pismo Beach water rates are mid-range compared to other communities. The money would pay for future safe and reliable drinking water.

“To maintain the clean drinking water and make sure it is sustainable and one of those big changes now is the Central Coast Blue Project, which is providing a brand new sustainable water source for the city,” said Nadia Feeser, Pismo Beach Administrative Services Director.

Central Coast blue is a $3.5 million project designed to create a drought-proof water supply for the Five Cities community, protect groundwater, and decrease ocean discharge by nearly 80 percent.

“It’s going to protect public health and the environment by treating water,” said Feeser.

If adopted, the new water rate structure would take effect in May and show up on water bills in July and August.

For people on low-income assistance, the city would continue to honor the PG&E Care Program.

“In that case, they only have to pay for their consumption at the lowest possible rate,” said Feeser.

Feeser says the bill amount will depend on the meter size and the amount of water used.

There is a protest process for people who are not in favor of the increased rates. A majority of customers would have to submit a written protest by or during the public forum, which is set for March 19.

The city will hold two informational meetings at City Hall on February 27, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.