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Some Raleigh residents could pay more for water

Posted February 2, 2009
Updated February 3, 2009

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— Residents who use a lot of water will soon have to pay more for it, while those who conserve will get a break on their water bills.

During the record drought that began in 2007 and stretched into last year, the City Council voted to implement a tiered rate structure for the municipal water system to encourage conservation. Because the city's billing software couldn't accommodate tiered rates, officials hired a consultant to study the best way of implementing variable pricing for water while it installed the needed software.

Council members on Tuesday reviewed the consultant's recommendations, and a preliminary rate structure was expected to be presented to the council on March 16 so they could begin setting policies and procedures to get the system in place.

Raleigh currently charges all water customers $3.89 per month, plus $1.96 for each 748-gallon unit consumed. Under guidelines recommended by Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc., the city would shift to a three-tiered system for residential customers and two tiers for non-residential customers.

The bottom residential tier would be for customers who use less than 3,000 gallons a month, while the second tier would be for those who use between 3,000 and 7,500 gallons. The top tier would include anyone using more than 7,500 gallons a month.

The City Council still needs to set the rates for each tier, but Raftelis said an approach in which the city doesn't collect a windfall from the transition would give people in the bottom tier an average 20 percent discount while charging those in the middle an average 40 percent more and residences in the top tier double the current $1.96 rate.

However, the average residential customer uses about 6,000 gallons a month and would pay about the same under the guidelines as he or she pays now.

Water used for irrigation and other outdoor uses would be charged at the top rate under the guidelines. All new homes are required to have a separate water meter for irrigation, but the Raftelis report doesn't address a cost or timeline for installing such meters on existing homes.

Rates for commercial water customers could be set between the first two residential tiers or could be created to target the largest water users and encourage conservation, according to the consultant.

Sewer charges wouldn't be affected by the tiered water system.

Cary, Durham and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority already have tiered water rates, and the Raftelis report shows the average Raleigh customer would continue pay the lowest water rates in the area under new tiered system.

22 Comments

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  • ConcernedNCC Feb 3, 2009

    The middle tier will pay 40% more but will be charged about the same as they are now? Who came up with that math?

  • getrealpeople Feb 2, 2009

    Just can't make you people happy. When we had drought you wanted tiered rates and more water supply. They are doing both.
    so Joe "green Grass" who uses 10,000 gallons a day on his yard will pay for it. They are building new water plant that will get water from Lakes Benson & Wheeler. Wait to see what the rates are before you have a cow. Also you posters that said stop the growth!!!! remember. Yes YOU!! You got your wish. Still want that? also water & sewer bills DO NOT PAY FOR CIVIC CENTER!!!!!

  • Fun Feb 2, 2009

    It's about the cities need for money not conservation. Should we seriously think the additional revenue pays for water infrastructure or operations or conservation? If we do, we all better think again. I suspect the money is redirected...$245,000,000 for the Civic Center and $1,000,000.00 for The Mint restaurant. They have needs that must be met and they come before our personal need.

  • ThisIsMyName Feb 2, 2009

    I like the tiered structure. If you choose to have a big family, then you know it will cost you more money.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 2, 2009

    You should not be paying for water and sewer as additional taxes. These are basic services that should be covered by your property tax bills. I thing every resident in Raleigh should head over to the Mayor's house whenever they need to use the bathroom or wash clothes.

  • 7Degrees Feb 2, 2009

    I would like to know why the sewer rates are not changing as well? If I use less water, I generate less sewage so therefore I should pay less for my sewer as well! As to the question about the planet being 2/3 water, that is salt water and it is excessively expensive to build desalination plants as they have to be stainless steels to prevent corrosion by the salt.

  • james27613 Feb 2, 2009

    Lets hire more consultants!

    What a joke, all the City needed to do was purchase the same software that Cary uses. Oh, that would be way to easy.

    Just like the trash collection program, when city annexed my
    subdivision, we went from one collection day a week from
    waste management to multiple collections with city raleigh.
    But wait, there is more, they WASTED (no pun intended) more city funds on a consultant that recommended city change over to once a week collections! Amazing ! What insight !

    Our Mayor is a disappointment, along with most of the city elected officials.

  • Weaker Pelosi Feb 2, 2009

    Glad I no longer have a water bill.

  • bs101fly Feb 2, 2009

    turn it off then. we're out of money, the economy is tanking and you DARE ask for more????
    Communists!!!

  • THE HECK YOU SAY Feb 2, 2009

    The problem I see is if the average person uses 2500 gal a month (just a quess on the number) a family of four or more will pay a higher usage rate than say a family of two. The family of two could waste water like crazy while the family of four could be doing there best to conserve and still be punished with higher per gal rates. I say take this one back to the drawing board.

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