Washougal could use utility rate phase-in strategy

Low water users would see decreases

Some Washougal residents who live in single-family homes could see water rate decreases in 2014.

According to the final results of a rate study conducted by the FCS Group, 61 percent of the water bills for single family residences with three-quarter inch meters would be lower than current rates.

The current average bi-monthly bill for customers who use 10 ccf of water is $60.38. That could decrease to $58.21 next year. A proposed rate for 2015 would be $58.83.

One ccf equals 748 gallons.

Other single family residential customers could see water rate increases of 3 percent during each of the next five years.

If the cost of service phase-in strategy is approved, multi-family residential customers would not see a water rate increase through 2018. Commercial customers would be subject to 4.5 percent increases, and large commercial customers would see 5.5 percent rate hikes.

One of the goals of the water rate structure is to provide relief for low water users and send “appropriate pricing signals” to high water users, according to Karyn Johnson, with FCS Group.

The sewer rate strategy would involve no increases from 2014 through 2016, then 2 percent hikes in 2017 and 2018.

The combined bill impacts (water, sewer and stormwater) for a single family residence with a three-quarter inch meter and a bi-monthly average use of 16 ccf would amount to a total of $220.47 every two months in 2014. That compares with the current average of $215.42.

In 2015, the proposed bi-monthly rate would be $227.83.

Single family residential customers who use 10 ccf could see bi-monthly bills of $198.91 in 2014, compared to $197.60 this year.