BPU tables tiered water rate ordinance

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Utilities> Board wants more time to consider issues raised by the public

By Arin McKenna

On Wednesday, the Los Alamos County Board of Public Utilities tabled an ordinance to revise the water rates structure that has been months in the making.
The ordinance restructures rates into a tiered system designed to allocate the cost of providing water more equitably.
One element of the plan calls for stepped rates based on meter size, up to $439.50 for an eight-inch meter, which carries 80 times as much water as a one-inch meter.
The ordinance also calls for a three-tiered residential rate between May and September, the peak season for water usage. All residential customers will have a single rate during the non-peak season.
According to DPU officials, water consumption in Los Alamos more than doubles during the summer months, with the majority of the increased use attributable to outdoor watering. The increased demand requires additional costs for pumping and delivering water and puts additional wear and tear on infrastructure, accelerating the need for replacement.
“The intent is to properly align the costs of providing water to the users that use that water. The summer peak residential users use by far the largest amount of water,” said Deputy Utilities Manager for Finance and Administration Robert Westervelt.