2016-2020 Rate Setting Process
Rate Structure Modifications
The City Council approved a rate structure modification and changes to water, recycled water, and sewer usage and fixed charges on December 1, 2015. The changes took effect on January 1, 2016.
Rate Structure Modifications to go into effect January 1, 2016:
- Revenue neutral rate structure modifications. Please note that some customers' bills will increase and some will decrease due to the changes in how fixed and usage charges are calculated, but the proposed modifications will not result in additional revenue.
- Single-Family Residential usage charges will reduce from 4 tiers to 2 tiers.
- Dedicated Irrigation usage charges will reduce from 3 tiers to 2 tiers.
- Duplexes will be grouped with single-family residential accounts.
- Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional will be grouped by four categories based on the strength of the sewer discharge: low, standard, medium, and high.
- High Strength Surcharges will now be called additional surcharges and will include flow in the calculation.
Service Charge Increases
Service charge increases, estimated to total less than a 3% increase for the average residential customer, to go into effect July 1 of each year, 2016 - 2020:
Estimated less than 3% increase in water charges based on a combination of:
- 5% increase in water and recycled water fixed charges for each year, 2016 - 2020.
- Increase in the water and recycled water usage charge based on the pass-through of the wholesale cost of water charged by the Sonoma County Water Agency for each year, 2016-2020.
- 2% increase in sewer fixed and usage charges for 2016-2017
- 3% increase in sewer fixed and usage charges for years 2017-2018
- 2.5% increase in sewer fixed and usage charges for years 2019-2020
Reasons for the Changes to Water, Recycled Water & Sewer Service Charges
Santa Rosa Water completed a comprehensive rate study in 2015, which included a financial assessment, a review of current case law in rate setting, and a rate and cost of service analysis. The proposed changes to water, recycled water, and sewer service charges reflect the need to maintain financial resiliency and meet our financial and service obligations, which include:
- Meeting legal and regulatory requirements
- Maintaining, replacing and rehabilitating our aging water and sewer system
- Managing for water shortage conditions and usage variability
- Increasing cost of energy to deliver and recycle water
- Increasing cost for the purchase of water (wholesale pass-through rate) from the Sonoma County Water Agency