BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Brownsville Public Utility Board customers are furious over an approved rate increase.
According to BPUB, the rates include electricity, water, and wastewater. The decision was made after the Brownsville City Commission approved new rates at its May 3 meeting.
As previously reported on ValleyCentral.com, ‘Brownsville city commissioners also approved a series of increases to water customer service charges and rates, the first change in water rates in six years, along with a new resaca maintenance fee for all BPUB water customers. This fee will fund BPUB’s ongoing Resaca Restoration Project by matching funds for federal dollars already earmarked for Resaca improvements.’
BPUB’s breakdown shows starting June 1, 2022, the residential water rate percentage increases 8% and continues through 2026.
Congresswoman Mayra Flores (TX-34) publicly addressed the Brownsville Public Utilities Board’s new utility rates on Facebook and sent a letter to BPUB.
Rep. Flores spoke with 4 Investigates Lead Investigator Derick Garcia on the hundreds of calls she’s received and believes the increase is an abuse of authority.
“It’s important that we find the solution because we cannot continue with these prices. We have to find a solution to bring the costs down,” Flores said.
Alicia Salinas, a customer who reached out to the 4 Investigates team showed her bills. In May, her bill was $340.49. By September, the bill spiked to $905.90.
BPUB billed her for 80,000 gallons of water consumption. The 80,000 gallons is a huge jump from the 7,000 gallons in May.
Only she and her daughter live in their Brownsville home. Salinas said a BPUB employee visited their home and found no issues with her meter and no leaks were found.
BPUB spokesperson Cleri Quezada told CBS 4 Investigates, that BPUB customer services mainly receive calls on electric consumption.
“Although, we do receive occasional questions about water and wastewater consumption; these calls usually pertain to a leak at the customer’s home,” Quezada said.
CBS 4 Investigates sent an email to BPUB and Brownsville city commissioners asking to share their utility bills from May to September ahead of our follow-up report set for Sept. 29th.
To read the full statement from Rep. Flores click here.