City Council Approves Rates for Residential Water Meter Program

The Fresno City Council on Thursday night established the City’s first residential water meter rate structure. The decision came at the conclusion of a well-attended public hearing and authorized water meter rates which will go into effect in 2010. The rate structure will transition over the next three years and will ultimately replace the City’s current “flat rate” charge for residential water use. According to a recent study, the City’s newly adopted water rates are among the lowest for similarly sized systems in California and across the nation.

Implementation of the new rate structure will coincide with the activation of water meters to measure water consumption in single family residences throughout Fresno. Water meters have been in use throughout Fresno to measure water consumption in commercial buildings and multi-family housing developments, such as apartments, for many years. The remainder of the City’s water customers are required to have meters installed by the end of year 2012.

The newly established residential water meter rate structure was developed to provide necessary revenues, solely to the City of Fresno Water Division, to recover costs reasonably borne in providing services to its customers. The rates were also designed to be equitable to all customer groups; and to be proportionate to the cost of delivering service to parcels based on size and connection type.

The residential water meter rate structure has two components: (1) a ready to serve charge; and (2) a variable (water consumption-based) charge. The first component is a fixed amount calculated to recover the City’s cost to operate and maintain the water system. The variable component of the rate structure establishes charges based on the level of water consumption in the home. The variable component is structured to discourage water waste and encourage efficiency.

Rates will be implemented for residential customers once a meter has been installed, tested and activated at the home. Homes throughout the City will be transitioned to water meters beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2013. Until a residential customer’s meter is activated, the existing flat rate for water service will continue to be applied. No changes were made to the City’s current flat rate water charge structure at Thursday’s hearing.