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Manteca bought water system to lower rates
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Manteca’s first move to buy a “public utility” and monthly charges ended up saving took place in 1928 and resulted in rates being slashed by almost 50 percent.

That’s when the City of Manteca bought the water works established in 1900 by A. Baccilieiri — who donated the city’s first park named after him that is located south of Oak Street and downtown Manteca.

It took the city 10 years to finally make a move to buy the system but not until residents complained to the State Railroad Commission — the forerunner of the California Public Utilities Commission — that Manteca Water Works was charging unreasonable and excessive rates.

The Railroad Commission ultimately lowered rates from 10 to 25 percent.

Once the city took over the system and lowered the rates even further since there was no need to provide owners with a profit, rates were again slashed making it affordable for people to irrigate landscaping triggering a beautification movement.

Before rates were lowered with a city owed water system, Manteca residents were paying 33 cents per 1,000 gallons used compared to city-owned water works in Oakdale that charged 15 cents and Lodi that charged five cents for the same amount of water.

Rates today are lower in Manteca for water than many nearby municipalities but they are definitely cheaper than the privately owned California Water Service that supplies most of the City of Stockton.

Manteca hasn’t had a rate increase now for going in seven years when it comes to water.

Electrical service could end up going the same way as water if the South San Joaquin Irrigation District successfully completes its bid to enter the retail power service.

Rates, as SSJID’s planning and financial pictures stand now, would be at least 15 percent cheaper than PG&E rates across the board in Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon.