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Carr Fire survivors lose homes, but find new water, energy bills in the mail

KRCR

In the wake of the Carr Fire, the Shasta Community Services District said communication with customers has been extremely limited, leading to confusion about the charges people are finding on their bills.

Shasta County resident Frank Zaldivar said he and his neighbors in Old Shasta were shocked when they received water and electric bills from The Shasta Community Services District for the month after his home burned down in the Carr Fire.

"Our house is completely gone. I don't understand why we continue to have to pay for water that we don't even have access to," said Zaldivar. "So, I went on Facebook and put posts up to try to get a hold of other neighbors. Come to find out, other neighbors have been getting billed the same and getting charged late fees."

Zaldivar says he tried to reach the company several times.

"And there's no one to communicate with. We've called. We can't get a hold of anyone. The office is gone," Zaldivar said.

He said he's willing to pay for the money owed but doesn't agree with the charges after the home burned down.

Christina Arias from the Shasta Community Services District explained that customers generally pay a flat rate for water use every month, but that Carr Fire survivors can print out an application on their website for the Carr Fire Forgiveness program.

An emergency board meeting with the Shasta Community Services District was scheduled Wednesday night to help answer customers' questions and billing concerns.

One idea being discussed is merging Keswick County Service Area with the Shasta Community Services District. The merger would allow them to work together to apply for grants to make repairs.

But some customers aren't impressed by these options.

In regards to the online Carr Fire forgiveness application, Zaldivar said, "I don't even know how they would let people know there was this application online. Let alone, most people's computers were in their homes. So we don't have computers or printers to print stuff out. It's all been burnt."

Zaldivar said he's ready for a fresh start in a new home with his two children.


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