January 9, 2019 - Moments ago, the Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved a 30-percent water rate increase over the next three years. A typical Baltimore household will see their water and sewer bill, excluding stormwater fees, increase from $982 for this fiscal year to $1,284 by fiscal year 2022.
In response, the following statement was issued by Rianna Eckel, Maryland Senior Organizer at Food & Water Watch:
“This rate hike is outrageous given the long-standing billing issues at DPW. DPW has failed to improve its water billing dispute process or establish a real affordability program. This latest rate hike will only deepen the water affordability crisis facing our community and exacerbate the widespread and persistent water billing issues. This decision makes it all the more urgent for the Baltimore City Council to pass the Council President’s Water Accountability and Equity Act. I thank the Council President for his leadership on that critical legislation and urge timely passage of the ordinance.
“The Water Accountability and Equity Act is the right vision for Baltimore’s water system. It would create an Office of the Customer Advocate to provide a fair, neutral and accountable process for all customers to resolve their water billing problems. It would create the Water-for-All Discount Program, a real, sustainable water affordability program providing vulnerable residents with a path out of water debt and forward-thinking protections.
“A 30% water rate hike, with no real end in sight, is no joke. Higher water rates spell misery for Baltimore’s most vulnerable residents. If DPW insists on doubling down on rate hikes, the least it can do is support Council President Young’s comprehensive program for affordable water in Baltimore. The Water Accountability and Equity Act is the only adequate response to our city’s water billing crisis — nothing less.”