Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates title=
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates
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By an edhat subscriber

The city of Santa Barbara is considering raising water rates, so I looked at how we compare with other cities.

According to the city utility page (usage comparison table), the average monthly consumption for all single family residential users in 2016 was 11.4 HCF (hundred cubic feet). Based on a 5/8" connection, here are the comparable rates for local cities for 11.4 HCF per month:

  • Santa Barbara $138.72
  • Santa Maria $78.48
  • Ventura $50.09
  • San Luis Obispo $94.75
  • Santa Monica $34.31

The totals include the monthly service charge and usage fee. They exclude utility tax and sewer fees.

Does anyone know why we pay so much more in Santa Barbara? We get most of our water from our local watershed, so transport costs should be considerably lower. And our desal plant has just started up.

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Channelfog Jun 22, 2017 01:09 PM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

I would suggest some other potential reasons are: paying for the old desal plant that never provided water 90% of which was sold off @ 10 cents per dollar, early costs of the new desal plant (see what happens to the bill when THAT goes on line!), replacement of old water lines, updating of treatment plants such as Cater, purchasing water from central valley farmers as we are last in line in terms of entitlement for general State Water, as well as City incompetence and their general attitude that if you live in a nice place like SB, you should (and can afford) to pay more. This pervasive, deep pocket, attitude among City government and City employees is the most offensive to me. This city has zero compassion for the average, middle class person/family.

420722 Jun 22, 2017 08:21 PM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Because Santa Barbara is an overglorified place and people just keep on paying the higher price for same thing you can get cheaper just about anywhere else in the world. Our water actually sucks compared to some places. When you go up north you can stick your face under the faucet and drink cold fresh water that taste great. To answer the question, people aren't complaining enough to make a change.

a-1498189336 Jun 22, 2017 08:42 PM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Few things more frustrating than trying to find info on gov't. pages!

I did find an SB report where water usage averages in 2006 and 2007 were ALL in the 5.something HCF/dwelling unit/month, even multi-family (apartment buildings), except for two classes of residence buildings. No prices were listed.

Can you share the link that shows your figures? I'm interested.

Here's the report I looked at (see page 11):

a-1498189594 Jun 22, 2017 08:46 PM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Here are SB City's current rates:

Here's SB City info on the wastewater rate changes for FY 2018

Scroll down for water rate calculator.

a-1498189717 Jun 22, 2017 08:48 PM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Here's the rate increase.

Single Family Residential First 4 HCF from $4.20 to $4.56
Next 12 HCF from $8.51 to $12.97

I've never paid more than $120 for sewer, water and trash, **combined,** in the City of SB. I've gone into a third HCF once or twice in 2 years.

a-1498189858 Jun 22, 2017 08:50 PM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Also because SB readers are good at believing what they read without checking it out themselves or asking for sources.

2contango Jun 23, 2017 08:02 AM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Here are the calculations for the SB water rates:
Monthly service charge for 5/8" connection $24.50
4 units at the tier 1 rate of $4.56 = $18.24
7.4 units at the tier 2 rate of $12.97 = $95.98.
Total = $138.72 for 11.4 HCF.

You can find the 11.4 HCF average usage for single residential service by going to the city's online utilities page, log in to your account, go to Usage History, "Compare my consumption to the average usage for the entire city." I selected 2016, totaled the "Avg. Consumption For Santa Barbara" for all months and divided by 12 for the average monthly consumption for 2016 (11.4 HCF). A note on the page says that the figures are for residential service.

Figures for other cities are available online. Ventura, for example, charges $15.71 a month service fee (billed $31.41 every two month), $2.56 per HCF for the first 6 units, $3.50 for the next tier up to 14 HCF. To find the rates, search for "Ventura Water - FY 2016-2017 STAGE 3 DROUGHT."

Santa Monica charges no service fee and $3.01/HCF for up to 14 HCF.

2contango Jun 23, 2017 08:40 AM
Comparing Santa Barbara City Water Rates

Here are what some other cities charge for 11.4 HCF per month for residential users:
Santa Ynez $87.80
Goleta $108.91.
So why are Santa Barbara residents paying $138.72 per month for the same amount of water?

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