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UCAN Claims City Overcharging for Water

Consumer advocates say the city of San Diego has sent out a misleading letter to residents about proposed water rate hikes. The Utility Consumers Action Network is threatening to sue if the city does

UCAN Claims City Overcharging for Water

Consumer advocates say the city of San Diego has sent out a misleading letter to residents about proposed water rate hikes. The Utility Consumers Action Network is threatening to sue if the city does not revise its estimates of what residents will have to pay. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Every resident in the city got a letter explaining the city needs to raise rates by 6.5 % a year for the next 3 years. But Michael Shames of UCAN says rate hikes for the average consumer are likely to be twice that.

Michael Shames : This notice and the city’s intent behind the notice is totally deceptive.

Mayoral spokesman Fred Sainz says those who read their letters careful will be able to calculate how much their rates will rise. 

Fred Sainz: Revenue into the system will be 6.5 percent, but your rates will depend on how much water you end up using  

The city says the new rates encourage water conservation. But Shames says it does the opposite, by asking smaller users to pay a higher rate of increase than big users. 

If more than 50 percent of residents register a protest the proposal fails.  Alison St John, KPBS News.