PUD adds new 4th tier water rate

Posted 9/11/19

The Jefferson County Public Utility District’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Sept. 3 to create a fourth tier of water rates for residential water customers, which goes into effect until Jan. 5, 2020.

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PUD adds new 4th tier water rate

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The Jefferson County Public Utility District’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Sept. 3 to create a fourth tier of water rates for residential water customers, which goes into effect until Jan. 5, 2020.

The fourth tier of water rates is set to apply a charge of $1 per 100 gallons to all residential water usage in excess of 30,000 gallons per month.

The current highest rate is 54 cents per 100 gallons for usage in excess of 10,000 gallons per month.

PUD Customer Service Manager Jean Hall explained that the average residential water customer uses around 5,000 gallons per month, with only 1% of PUD customers using an average of 30,000 gallons or more.

Hall elaborated that 1% consumes more than 11% of all the water used by PUD residential customers.

“Some users are consuming more than 100,000 gallons per month,” Hall said, “mostly, from what our crews have observed, to maintain landscaping.”

According to PUD Interim Water Operations Supervisor Bill Graham, the need for a fourth tier of water rates for high users was prompted by the increasing costs of meeting those customers’ water demands.

Graham pointed out that water use is seasonal, with the highest use occurring during the warm, dry months of summer.

“Unfortunately, the months when demand is highest often coincide with times when system capacities are more constrained,” Graham said. “The additional funds generated by the new rate will help the PUD recover the costs of expanding our systems to meet increased demand, as well as the additional maintenance costs incurred due to higher usage.”

PUD General Manager Kevin Streett also hopes the fourth tier rate will help some customers be more aware of their usage, and encourage the conservation of PUD water.

The PUD estimates that fewer than 150 water customers will reach the fourth tier at some point during the high-use months of the summer of 2020.

The new tier does not apply to commercial customers.

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