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Raleigh water customers to pay according to consumption

Posted October 26, 2010
Updated October 27, 2010

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— Almost three years after the Raleigh City Council approved a tiered billing system for the municipal water system, customers will begin getting charged next week based on how much water they use each month.

The council approved the tiered system in March 2008, when the state was in the grips of a record-setting drought. Officials said they wanted to encourage people to conserve water by giving them a break on their bills.

The water system needed to change its billing software to implement the three-tier system, causing the lengthy delay.

In the meantime, the city raised water rates by 24 percent last year to make up revenue lost because of customers' conservation efforts and to pay for a new water treatment plant.

The bottom residential tier, Tier 1, would be for customers who use less than 3,000 gallons a month. Tier 2 would be for those who use between 3,000 and 7,500 gallons, and Tier 3 would include anyone using more than 7,500 gallons a month.

Tier 1 customers within the city limits of Raleigh and Garner would be charged $3.04 for every 1,000 gallons, while Tier 2 customers would pay $5.07 and Tier 3 customers would pay $6.77 per 1,000 gallons.

Those in the Raleigh and Garner areas but outside the city limits would pay $6.09 for every 1,000 gallons on Tier 1, $10.16 on Tier 2 and $13.55 on Tier 3.

Bills won't reflect the number of gallons used but will list consumption in terms of hundreds of cubic feet of water. One hundred cubic feet equals 748 gallons.

For residences that have a separate meter for outdoor water usage, the irrigation water rate is $6.77 per 1,000 within the city limits of Raleigh and Garner and $13.55 outside the city limits.

The tiered system applies only to residential customers. Businesses in Raleigh and Garner would pay $3.94 for every 1,000 gallons of water used.

Rates for water customers in Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon will remain the same.

The monthly water bill for the average residential customer – someone who uses less than 4,500 gallons a month – will be $40.64 under the tiered system, according to city officials. The compares with $39.82 under the old billing system.

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  • independentvoter3 Oct 28, 2010

    micah...
    Poor economic developmental policies, a lack of understanding relevant scientific knowledge that city planners need in order to better utilize natural resources, and self serving common sense approaches that focus on the good of government... is the foundation upon which poor management decisions are built.

    As for how the City has come up with their numbers, I've seen no public release/report that explains them. Furthermore, your appearance of disbelief that a municipality would make decisions not based on all available information or not in the best interest of its citizenship... is delusional. It is healthy and prudent for the citizenship to question new rates/taxes of any kind when not properly addressed. You be sure to thank those that question gov. I'm sure they have saved you plenty of money in your lifetime.

  • micah Oct 28, 2010

    And, independentvoter, whom do you think should decide what is reasonable and essential for the average family when setting tier amounts? Do you think the city just made numbers up? Do you not think they have years of data from our city, as well as hundreds of others, to determine what is a fair and normal for the tier levels? One thing you are right about, when the capacity of our utility systems is exceeded by growth, the cost of expanding and maintaining these systems will go up. This has little to do with poor management in most cases, it has to do with basic economics, science and common sense.

  • micah Oct 28, 2010

    The idea that this discriminates against families is just so laughable as to not require a response. Many other municipalities use tiered rates, and they work well. Also, our water/sewer rates in ALL of Wake County are some of the cheapest in the nation. My family of three never uses more than 4 CCF in a month, so I know it can easily be done. If you use less than 5 CCF, you are paying the same as everyone else in the same tier. After your 4th CCF, and through your 10th CCF you will pay $1.52 more PER 740 gallons! A DOLLAR FIFTY!

  • independentvoter3 Oct 28, 2010

    bobbythreesticks.... not really. Basically, people who use more than others are going to pay for convenience... i.e. those that use more are doing the following... taking longer showers, using the dishwasher more ofter, washing vehicles, watering lawns and/or gardens, etc...
    So it boils down to who use water for essentials, and those who use water for nonessential. Of course, there are exceptions to that observations, but the thing that would concern me is that the City of Raleigh gets to decide what is reasonable and essential for the average person/family in relation to uncontrolled growth and poorly managed natural resources. In other words, the more Wake County exceeds its carrying capacity of its citizens, businesses, and government, the more the bill will go UP< UP< UP< and AWAY!!! So glad I do not live in such a poorly managed county!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 28, 2010

    "I have to disagree with you very strongly. It has nothing to do with discrimination, it's common sense. Is it discrimination at the grocery store when your larger family pays more in food bills?

    And people living single are not benefiting unfairly in the least - they're using up fewer precious resources (hopefully). The energy and water costs should always be per consumption.

    Maybe then more people would consider scaling back careless lifestyle habits, and finding other means to get resources (solar energy, etc). - Warden"

    You are incorrect. The grocery store does not charge more per item if I have a family like the tiered water system does based on usage.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 28, 2010

    "@DontLiketheSocialistObama--this is the furthest thing from discrimination. It is completely fair to pay for what you use! -
    ccm0229"

    With the current tiered system, those with families will pay more per gallon than those who are single living by themselves.

    Those with families are being discriminated against and are forced to pay more because they have a family.

  • micah Oct 27, 2010

    bobbythreesticks, YOU are missing the facts. This is a tiered system. Everyone pays the same for the first 1-4 CCF, then everyone pays the same who uses 5-10 CCF, and finally everyone with 11+ CCF pays the same rate past 11 CCF. If you use 15 CCF, you still pay the lowest rate for the first 4 CCF, then the middle rate for the next 6 CCF, then the highest for the last 5 CCF you used.

  • getrealpeople Oct 27, 2010

    "Truth in billing is questionable. Class action legal action may be in order because the city has been doing this for a long time."
    nomorethanthat
    1 ccf = 748 gallons. You can read your meter yourself. It is like your car odometer. you only pay for the full ccf when it trips over from 1234.99 to 1235.00 get it? The meter also has a leak indicator to check for leaks. the other towns are paying higher rates to pay for the merger with Raleigh. It is not fair for Raleigh rate payers (not taxpayers) to pay for the other towns lack of water systems and water and waste treatment plants. In fact they got a deal since adding the extra capacity will be shared by all water customers.

  • bobbythreesticks Oct 27, 2010

    We were always paying for the water we used. Now those that use more pay more per # of gallons used. You people who are saying its fair to pay for what you use are missing the point of the argument made here, we were always paying for the water used, but now, those who use more pay more per # of gallons used.

  • Chole Oct 27, 2010

    That's great!!!!

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