The first step of a three-phase tariff hike for sewage services went into effect on March 1, 2017. This increase will pay the work needed by our Judicial Agreement with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to reduce combined sewer overflows. In 2017, Phase 1 had a 16 percent rise. For 2018 and 2019, the increase is set at 5 percent annually.
Phase 2 would raise rates by another 16 percent in 2020 and 2023. This would provide an additional $250,000 a year for wastewater treatment projects across Indiana. The third and final phase would begin in 2024 when all residential customers who use less than 150 gallons of water per month would be charged based on how much they use, instead of the current system where all customers are charged based on their total usage. This change would generate $150 million more for wastewater treatment projects across Indiana.
The increase in the sewer rate will not affect drinking water prices or quality. Sewer rates are used to cover the cost of treating wastewater before it's released into local streams and rivers. Sewage plants use technology to remove most contaminants from water before it's discharged into bodies of water.
In addition to the increased sewer rate, new fees have been added for things like recycling containers and appliances. These changes were made to help offset the costs of operating and maintaining sewers across Indiana.
The Utility Billing Office would like to notify you of this year's water and sewer rate action. The second phase of the rate increase will take place on April 1, 2018 if the City is still under its annual budget limit. The final phase of the rate increase will take place on April 1, 2019 if the City has exceeded its annual budget limit.
Water rates will not change until April 1, 2019. However, the Department will be applying a conservation bonus to all residential customers' bills in an effort to encourage consumers to use less water during peak periods by either limiting outdoor watering or turning off their taps when not needed. The conservation bonus will apply to each residence served by a city departmental system or private company supplying water to multiple residences. It will be shown as a separate line item on customers' bills and will be equal to 2% of each customer's monthly service charge. This amount will remain in effect until further notice.
The reason for the delay in raising water rates is so that the City can maintain its existing level of service while allowing for some price appreciation if desired. With rising material costs and an increasing demand for water quality products, it is important that we raise rates now rather than later.
While assisting towns in anticipating the impact of water conservation on service needs To the uninitiated, the solution appears simple enough. Given that the volume of water consumed is generally equal to the volume of sewage created, the wastewater flow to water demand ratio should be around 1.0. However, this simplistic view ignores several important factors. First, some households are water intensive activities while others are not. A household with several bathrooms or numerous landscape features such as sprinklers or trees may use more water than another one with only one bathroom and no outdoor appliances. Second, not all households have access to both indoor and outdoor toilets. Some households may have to make a choice between these options. If they choose to use an indoor toilet, they may need to use more water for their hygiene needs. In fact, research has shown that households who use only indoor toilets consume about 5% more water per person than those who use both indoor and outdoor toilets.
The amount of water used by households varies significantly from country to country and within countries. For example, domestic users in Australia consume on average 3500 liters (1021 gallons) of water per year, while those in United States use only 800-1000 liters (216-227 gallons). These differences are due to various factors such as climate, economic status, etc. One factor that has a large impact on the water consumption of households is the type of housing they live in.
On their monthly sewer payment, customers will get a rate decrease equivalent to 50% of the existing rates for wastewater services. Customers interested in the Customer Assistance Program must fill out an application and send it to MSD's Accounts Receivable (A/R) Department. Call 1 (866) 281-5737 to request an application. The application must be completed and returned by the 10th day of the month prior to its effective date. For example, if you want your rate reduction to begin on January 1, 2013 then you need to submit your application by December 31, 2012.
The new rate will be based on what type of connection you have: single family home, duplex, or fourplex. If you have two or more households who are connected to one meter, then you can only be billed at one rate. However, if your property has separate meters for each house or apartment unit, then you can be billed at different rates. Your actual bill will depend on how much water you use. There is no cap on how much money you can save through this program. However, any excess savings above what is needed to cover the operating costs of MSD will go into a dedicated fund that can only be used for environmental projects.
For example, if your current rate is $35 and your new rate is $70 then you would receive a $35 check from MSD every time you pay your bill. A portion of these savings will also go toward funding other community improvement projects such as park renovations and upgrades.
The Missouri Public Service Commission regulates water and sewer prices. These prices are determined by the real expenses of water treatment and distribution, as well as sewage collection and treatment. MAWC submits an application to the Public Service Commission to set new charges. If the commission does not approve these charges, then a public hearing is held where witnesses can testify about why the current rate structure is inadequate.
Missouri law requires that electric utilities file plans with the Public Service Commission before they can increase their rates. Water and sewer providers do not have to go through this process, but they must let the PSC know if they want to change their rates. The commission can require a water or sewer provider to hold a public hearing on its proposal before it can be implemented.
In addition to setting new rates, the Public Service Commission can review existing rates and either approve them or direct changes to be made. For example, if there is evidence that shows that rates are too high, the commission can order lower rates. It also can order changes to improve service quality or reduce unnecessary costs.
The commission's decision on rates can be appealed to circuit court. If you believe that your utility has acted improperly when setting its rates, contact a lawyer who specializes in utility laws.