County Commissioners begin addressing MSD rate structure
During September and October 2016, the Hamilton County Commission passed the following resolutions and requested that MSD begin implementation as soon as possible.
- Billing residential customers monthly
- Basing the multifamily billing on meter size rather than the number of units
- Billing based on actual meter size rather than pipe size
- Increasing awareness of lateral line insurance
- Establishing a customer billing appeals process
- Reducing the current monthly charge based on 5 ccf of water to 3 ccf.
The monthly billing will be based on 1/3 of the current quarterly billing for residential customers. This is a reduction from $59.54/month to $39.12. About 30% of customers use less than 5 ccf that was previously part of a monthly bill. That is they were paying for water discharged to the sewer system that they were not using.
More work is in progress. Each of the Commissioners’ resolution included setting up a framework to encourage the use of Green/Sustainable Infrastructure and reducing the inflow and infiltration of stormwater. The County Monitor Team is charged with working with MSD to get the necessary data to determine stormwater charges, and green infrastructure incentives. Separating the volume charge out of the minimum charge will likely encourage more water conservation and possibly non-potable water reuse. This will affect revenue – and some level of treatment costs. The Commission is discussing phasing in such changes so that the billing rate can properly reflect the needed revenue. Work is also being done on developing the low-income / hardship billing assistance.
Sierra Club supports addressing the stormwater charge and green infrastructure as soon as possible. We also support eliminating the volume discount that big industries get for use of large volumes of water.