Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tacoma Updates Utilities Rates

Tacoma utilities users are up for the biannual rate evaluations.  Both the Environmental Services Department (surface water, wastewater, solid waste) and Public Utilities (water, electricity/power) have conducted rate cases involving a review of operations, capital needs and cost of service.

Here is a comparison of Tacoma’s 2013 residential rates for these utilities compared with neighboring cities in the region.  For these comparisons, Tacoma’s combined utilities’ rates are lower than comparable or neighboring cities.  Of course, businesses are typically in different rate classifications than residents, but the residential rate serves as a useful universal classification for comparisons.

For 2013, the system-wide rate increases are:
  • Surface Water   6.0%
  • Wastewater       4.8%
  • Solid Waste      0.0%
  • Power               4.2%
  • Water                6.0%
You should note that the Solid Waste rates system average increase is 0% because the City will begin a volume-based rate system that will offer customers conservation opportunities.  Commercial customers will again have a 0% rate increase because the City is keeping its commitment to adjust rates to a cost-of-service philosophy, ending a subsidy of residential rates by its commercial customers.

Although both utilities departments have engaged in a public outreach program both to gain customer input into development of the rates and to inform customers of the increases, there are still customer input opportunities.

Schedule for Adoption
  • Jan. 29                  City Council Study Session Rate Review Presentation
  • Jan. 30                  Public Utility Board Study Session and Public Hearing for Water and Power
  • Feb. 5                    City Council First Reading of Ordinances for Surface water, Wastewater & Solid Waste              
  • Feb. 12                 City Council Second Reading of Ordinances for Surface water, Wastewater and Solid Waste
  • Feb. 13                 Public Utility Board Consideration & Adoption of Water and Power Rates
  • Feb. 19                 City Council First Reading of Water and Power Rates
  • Feb. 26                 City Council Second Reading of Water and Power Rates
  • Mar. 1                   Adoption of Rates for Surface water, Wastewater and Solid Waste
  • Apr. 1                    Effective Date of Power and Water Rates
If you wish more information about how these rate increases may apply to your business or wish to share your concern about the proposed increases, please email Gary Brackett or call him at 253-682-1720.

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