We’ll be doing a story within the week on ACWD’s announcement that the water agency intends to raise water rates again. Until then, here’s the PRESS RELEASE from ACWD (sent Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014):
ALAMEDA COUNTY WATER DISTRICT CONSIDERS RATE INCREASES FOR 2014
Proposed Increases Would Help Offset Rising Operational and Purchased Water Costs
Fremont, CA — Alameda County Water District staff has proposed rate increases that, if adopted by the Board, would help to offset rising operational and purchased water costs.
The commodity and service charge rate increases would result in an increase of about 12 cents per day (approximately 7%) for the average residential customer using 23 units of water bimonthly (about 283 gallons per day) and with a 5/8 or 3/4 inch meter.
“Providing a safe, reliable water supply to the 336,000 people in the Tri-City area requires considerable financial resources,” said ACWD General Manager Walt Wadlow. “The proposed rate increases will allow ACWD to offset rising costs as well as create long-term financial sustainability for the District.”
The proposed increases include a 7% increase in the water commodity rate. This rate would increase from $3.152 to $3.373 per unit (one unit is equivalent to 748 gallons, or 100 cubic feet of water). They also include a 7% increase in the bimonthly service charge (which is based on the size of the meter serving the property). The bimonthly charge would increase by $2.09 (from $29.86 to $31.95) for customers with a meter size of 5/8 or 3/4 inches. Even with these increases, the District’s rates and charges would still rank in the bottom half of 30 other Bay Area water agencies as shown in the chart below.
In addition to offsetting rising operational and purchased water costs, the proposed increases are required to maintain existing service levels and create long-term financial sustainability by:
- Funding major capital projects needed to comply with public health and environmental standards.
- Investing in technology needed to improve productivity.
- Budgeting for long-term obligations, such as employee pensions and post-employment health care.
Among other factors, the proposed increases were moderated through:
- Deferring capital projects, where possible, in response to projected lower demands.
- Reducing future District staffing levels while maintaining quality of service.
- Reducing purchases of water from the San Francisco Regional Water System, ACWD’s highest priced water supply.
- A variety of cost-saving measures implemented through District initiatives.
- Requiring employees to contribute toward their health insurance benefits.
“ACWD has an enviable AAA bond rating,” noted ACWD Manager of Finance Shelley Burgett. “These rate increases would help the District to maintain this rating by allowing it to responsibly budget for long-term financial obligations such as employee pensions and post-retirement health care. In the end, our AAA rating results in cost-savings to the District and ultimately to ACWD ratepayers,” Burgett went on to say.
ACWD welcomes comments and input on the proposed rate increases. A public hearing on the increases will be held at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, January 9, 2014 in the Board Room at ACWD headquarters, 43885 South Grimmer Boulevard, Fremont.
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For nearly 100 years, the Alameda County Water District has supplied water to the residents and businesses of southern Alameda County. ACWD supplies drinking water to the more than 336,000 people living in the cities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City. For more information, please visit www.acwd.org.