BPU votes for tiered rates

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County > Top rates could go up for heaviest water users this summer

By Arin McKenna

By a 4-1 vote, the Board of Public Utilities threw its support behind a seasonal tiered water rate structure. Chair Timothy Neal voted against the ordinance.
Included in ordinance is a six-percent rate hike for all customers, which Department of Public Utilities staff said is necessary to cover high capital and maintenance costs whether rates remain flat or become tiered.
The goal of the tiered seasonal rate is to assign costs for producing water to the highest users.
“It’s not intended to be punitive, it’s not intended to be a conservation rate, it’s intended to recover those costs,” said Robert Westervelt, deputy utilities manager for finance and administration for the Department of Public Utilities.
Westervelt noted that that the increase to $5.32 per gallon for the top tier is well below neighboring communities that are trying to curb water usage, where the top tier is $20 to $30 per gallon.
DPU reports that based on historical data, 21 percent of residential customers use 56 percent of the total residential water consumed during the summer, when water consumption more than doubles.
If council approves the ordinance, new residential seasonal rates would be:

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