Birmingham Water Works to raise rates in 2022

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham Water Works are raising rates again in order to cover certain costs for their services.

Spokesperson Rick Jackson with the Birmingham Water Works says while the rate will increase 3.9% at the beginning of 2022.

Some residential customers will see a decrease in their overall bill; however, a coalition of several organizations that include Greater Birmingham Ministries, Sustainable Water, Energy, and Economic Transition in Alabama (SWEET), and the Cahaba River Society are still not sold on the idea of raising rates during a pandemic.

“We are very disappointed in the Birmingham Water Works Board’s decision,” said Rob Burton with SWEET Alabama.

Burton said organizations that help people with their utility bills will also feel the impacts of the rate increase.

“Throughout the pandemic, they have seen a massive increase in the amount of money from their program going to pay water bills.”

Jackson says they never want to raise the actual rate, but they want customers to know they want to provide the best service they can.

“This is a two way street. You know, we are just not raising rates just to raise rates. We have to invest in our infrastructure. The cost of chemicals that are going up. Just like everything else,” he said.

While the new rate will not go into effect until Jan. 2022, Burton hopes customers and public leaders speak up.

“We need our county commission and our city council to also get involved in addressing these issues,” he said.

Because Burton, along with other groups, believe access to water should never be a problem.

“Access to affordable, healthy drinking water is a human right. Never more so, during a pandemic,” said Beth Stewart with Cahaba River Society.

Burton says they will continue to have conversations with the water board before the new rate is applied to customers.

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