Cal Water addresses complaints on high water rates


OROVILLE, Calif. - Cal Water in Oroville is speaking out after complaints from folks in Butte County that their rates are too high. Neighbors on Montgomery Street in Oroville put signs in their front yard, saying they can't afford to keep their lawns green because of the spike in water prices.

Cal Water is saying that's not true. Cal Water says the average water bill in Oroville is around $54, but when we talked to one of the neighbors on Montgomery Street two weeks ago, they say their bill was double that amount. "Now we pay $31 just to have a water meter, that is before they even turn on a drop of water every month," said Celia Hierschman Hierschman told us two weeks ago her water bill was way too high. In fact, she told us "it was $98 in September." "In August, just to water my front plants and have general use of my water, if I wanted to water my lawn that shot up to $250," said Hierschman. Hierschman reached out and showed us the colorful signs she and her neighbors have put in their front yards, generally saying Cal Water rates are too high. "The water rates have gone up. In fact, water rates have gone up in California so we are no exception to that," said Cal Water Oroville District Manager, Toni Ruggle. Ruggle said the water rates have gone up 54% in the past decade but it's because of new state regulations and equipment that has to be updated. "Water rates have gone up because we need to deliver safe and reliable drinking water for our customers," said Ruggle. Ruggle saw our story when it aired on Oct. 2, and told us Monday, the average bill for a Cal Water customer is not nearly as high as Hierschman's bill. "For an average water bill in Oroville, our customers pay around $54 a month in service," said Ruggle. According to Cal Water, it would take nearly 27,000 gallons of water to get the bill over a $100. "Well it's not accurate, you need to look at my bill which is 22,000 gallons," said Hierschman. Cal Water said if you're having trouble with your bill you can visit their website or stop by your local office to find out how you can save money. "I'm going to keep fighting until I see my rates go down," said Hierschman.