Monetary Value Monday: Increase in US Water Rates

Water Rate Increases have been in the news repeatedly over the years but recently much more frequently I have come across constant increases in both water rates and sewer rates to offset utility infrastructure projects, utility debt, to help utilities repay loans and secure new water sources. A few of the water rate increase I have come across in the last month are below: (So you are not the only one)

1%-15% Rate Increase:

16%-40% Rate Increase:

  • Foster City, CA. On July 1, 2012 SFPUC notified EMID that it will increase the wholesale rate for water from $2.63 / ccf to $2.95 / ccf. Representing a 12% increase. EMID must respond to this increase by increasing its base consumption rate to $3.13 / ccf, which represents an 18% increase in consumption charges to its customers effective July 1, 2012. Fixed meter charges, however, will be decreased by 10% from their current rates.
  • Upshur, VA 20% Increase
  • Plymouth, MA. 21% increase
  • San Jose, CA.21% increase within the next year and 44% increase over the next three years (Taking residential bills from $65 to $93)
  • Visalia, CA 25.3% Increase
  • Joplin, Missouri 25.5% Increase
  • Sistersville, VA 27% increase
  • Brandon, MS Increased 27% since 2000
  • Boiling Springs, PA 27% increase
  • Lafayette, CA29% Increase
  • Madison, MS Increased 30% since 2000
  • Oolitic, IN 32% Increase 
  • Jackson, MS 35% increase in first year of use
  • Scituate, MA 10% Increase expected to increase to 35% increase

41%-60% Rate Increase:

61%-80% Rate Increase:
81%-100% Rate Increase:
101%-200% Rate Increase:

Utilities Water Rates are Climbing!!!!

Happy Water Day!!!! A little insight into the water that everyone uses but no one understands its true value until now. Over the past year, I have been watching water rates rise due to the increase in demand impacted by the degradation of infrastructure and dwindling the supply. Currently, water utilities are suffering because not only is there good undervalued but their infrastructure cannot accurately measure the amount supplied or accurately transport the good without a loss. Therefore most water rate increases are directly associated with improving the dilapidated infrastructure.
Increase in Flat-Rates fees: Just to list a few
  • Las Vegas Valley Water District decides to add a surcharge to help cover debt payments over the nest three years. Part one will be a flat-rate increase that will mostly impact businesses.
  •  Tiffin, Oh. The Ohio American Water Company increase water rates by 22% to cover the cost of aging infrastructure. This was the first of utility to present the health and safety issues associated with the current infrastructure, but that did not calm residents. The public utility commission of Ohio held a public forum  to discuss the water rate increase.
  • Uxbridge, Ma. Introduced a new method to recover billing debt similar to Irvine Ranch utility in that “high-usage water consumers (800 cubic feet +) to see the slight rate increase.” The slight increase in rates was based purely on water consumption, last year the utility experienced a 5.4% decrease in last year’s billing cycle. If that were to occur in 2012, the water enterprise operating fund would lose $46,897. Even with the slight increase the fund has a chance of losing $21,569 (impacted by weather and infrastructure factors). Changes rate structure to generate larger revenue from larger users
  • Virgina looking to increase water rates by 15.9% in that will impact Prince Williams, Alexandria, Hopewell, and eastern district. However being regulated by the State Corporation Commission requires the company to file for the increase with the SCC regulatory agency. The SCC is also required to give the public notice of the rate increase and the opportunity to comment. Therefore, this is not a sure bet yet.
  • Elmwood Park, Il. Can expect a water increase for the next four years, starting with a 25% increase this year and 15% increase each of the following three years. The increase in rates is to pay off $425 million in repairs and replacement costs for 125 miles of water main, and another $260 million on upgrading four pumping stations.
  • Missouri American Water was granted rate increase, boosting rates 10% starting on April 1, 2012. The rates are increasing to assist with infrastructure cost.
Water Ban: 
  • Uxbridge, Ma. was also banned outdoor water use last summer to ensure sufficient water during hot and dry weather conditions.
  • Southwest Florida Water Management District has implemented strict water restrictions on outdoor water user including lawn irrigation, pressure washing, car washing, decorative fountains, and more. Unlike other outdoor water use restrictions, this restriction is implemented year round.
  • New Jersey American Water follows suit with banning outdoor water use last summer as the utility water resources began to dwindle in Essex and Union Counties, therefore, the entire community had to reevaluate usage. The severity of the conservation was the tremendous urging citizens to not only stop water outdoors but to conserve indoors as well.
  • Cobb County, Ga. Governor Perdue signed the Water Stewardship Act into law. The law has new provisions for landscape watering. You may water landscapes and day between the hours of 4pm – 10am. However, there is already an odd/even schedule currently in place for other outdoor uses such as car washing, fountains, etc.