Bakersfield home sales were “as normal as it gets” in May, according to a report showing moderate increases in supply, demand and median price.

Local appraiser Gary Crabtree’s preliminary report says the median closing price of a home sold last month rose 4.7 percent from April to reach $225,000, or 1.7 percent lower than the median a year before.

The number of Bakersfield homes listed for sale in May, 1,507, was 2.2 percent higher than April levels and about half a percent more than May 2015, Crabtree reported. He said a total of 544 homes sold last month, 3 percent more than the month before but 4.6 percent fewer than sold a year earlier.

In a note accompanying the figures, Crabtree called the market “very stable.” He added that May’s annual appreciate rate of 2.8 percent — less than a point below April’s rate but well off May 2015’s 7.63 percent — was in line with his forecast that 2016 will end up between 2 percent and 3 percent.

California Water Service Co. topped all other western U.S. water utilities in overall customer satisfaction, according to results of a March survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Cal Water outranked the others in the survey’s Overall Water Utility Satisfaction Index, which measures performance in delivery, price, billing and payment, conservation, communications and customer service.

J.D. Power ranked western water utilities serving at least 400,000 residents. Cal Water serves 2 million people companywide, including about 70,800 of its own local customers and another 45,000 through a contract with the City of Bakersfield.

A state initiative aimed at helping Californians save energy and natural resources has rolled out an online tool intended to help small businesses lower their utility bills.

Energy Upgrade California’s new tool, MyEnergyUpgrade, takes small business owners through an assessment before offering suggestions such as sign up for “peak day” energy pricing, update to energy-efficient light bulbs and schedule a cooling system checkup.

The tool is available online at

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