Monday night it was Bakersfield. Tuesday night, residents in the Kern River Valley took aim at California Water Service Company. Hundreds of angry residents packed the Lake Isabella senior center Tuesday evening, to dispute the rate increases. They're upset over a proposal to increase their water bills by more than 40 percent.
The Kern River Valley has a large retirement community. A lot of residents are on fixed incomes and many who work, say they're just scraping by.
"There is no work up here, and like one lady said, there is no money up here. What are you asking for? When we don't have it, we don't have it. And that is a fact here, we don't have it." says Diana Smith who lives in the Kern River Valley.
California Water Service company says a rate increase is needed because of how bad the water is in the area.
"We understand that rate increases are never popular. I want to assure you that we evaluated our operations and our infrastructure and have only proposed improvements that are truly necessary at this time." said Paul townsley, V.P. of rates at Cal Water.
But, residents say whether it's needed or not, they can't afford it. Some are already paying hundred of dollars each month for water and they say others are going without altogether.
"California Water Company has greed going on. Very, very greedy, and I don't like it one bit." said another resident, Kellyann Botos.
County Supervisor Mick Gleason, who represents the Kern River Valley, argued Cal Water continues to have record revenues, with a 20-year return rate of 598 percent.
"It would certainly appear to be ample capacity within these healthy financial returns for the company to maintain services to customers in the Kern River Valley without requiring a rate increase of 44.66 percent or any amount approaching that level of increase. For these reasons, the Kern County Board of Supervisors requests that the CPUC reject Cal Water Service Company's request for a 44.66 percent increase." said Supervisor Gleason.
California Water Service Company said it is looking into changing how it divides up infrastructure costs so small communities don't get hit as hard when improvements need to be made.