Area residents can expect their water bills to change. A new rate structure will be reflected on bills for any meter read on or after April 1, 2016. That means meters read in early April, for example, would include water use from days in March under the new structure.
The impact on individual homeowners will vary, as bills will be individualized based on consumption patterns. What’s increasing for everyone is the “monthly service charge.” Water bills are comprised of this service charge plus a charge based on consumption. For a typical residential customer, the service charge is increasing from $6.74 to $8.79 per month. Commercial customers will also see a service charge increase depending on meter size.
The consumption charge portion of the bill is converting to a three-tier system based on indoor use, landscaping for an average size yard, and a higher rate for landscaping requiring more than 15,000 gallons of water per month.
The former four-tier system charged higher rates for higher tiers. The price per gallon under the new three-tier system also increases from tier to tier but defines the tiers by type of use rather than simply by a greater charge per gallon: establishing the lowest tier for “average winter consumption” for basic indoor use; then allotting 15,000 gallons of use in the next tier based on what it takes to water an average-sized yard efficiently; then defining a tier three for any water use above that. Each tier under the new system costs less per 1,000 gallons than the previous system, an amount offset to some degree by the increased service charge. As a fixed fee, the larger service charge will help stabilize revenues to the overall water system. Denver Water has, as have many other Colorado water providers, experienced inconsistent revenues as as a result of more frequent extreme weather fluctuations and customer water conservation efforts..
In adopting the new structure last December, the Denver Board of Water Commissioners indicated the “new structure will provide a more secure source of the revenue the utility needs to continue to collect, treat and deliver safe, reliable water to its customers.”
Because tier one of the structure is based on a customer’s average winter consumption, calculated by averaging your monthly water consumption on bills dated January, February and March each year (beginning in 2016), water bills among customers will vary. For details on the new rate structure visit DenverWater.org.