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Council Schedules Water Rate Hearing

The San Diego City Council today scheduled a public hearing for Nov. 21 to consider proposed water rate increases over the next two years.

The increases proposed by the city's Public Utilities Department would be 7.25 percent in the calendar year 2014, and up to an additional 7.5 percent the next year. The higher rates would vary among individual customers based on their amount of water usage.

The City Council's unanimous action also authorized notices to be delivered to water customers.

The proposed rate increases are the result of a study on the projected costs for the department to provide water to area residents and businesses.

Among the factors considered were increases in wholesale water rates and the need to pay debt service on major infrastructure projects.

The Public Utilities Department said it absorbed higher costs recently imposed by the Metropolitan Water District, the major wholesaler in Southern California, by reducing other expenses.

Staff said the department can't absorb further wholesale price increases. However, depending on how much the city is charged at the wholesale level, the potential 2015 increase might not be necessary, according to staff.

Water rates in San Diego were last raised on March 1, 2011.

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