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Rates

Residential and Commercial/Industrial Water and Sewer Rates

In June, 2009, all customers saw a decrease in their water and sewer bills thanks to a resolution passed by the Butler County Board of Commissioners.  These rates have not increased since this reduction took place.

The average residential customer, using 6,000 gallons per month, received a 5.5 percent reduction in their monthly water bill and a 13 percent reduction in their monthly sewer bill.

The average commercial and industrial customer received a rate reduction of more than 20 percent. The rate reductions are as follows:

 
Water Reduction
Sewer Reduction
Commercial
23%
27%
Industrial
24%
20%

                            

How did BCWS lower rates?

To achieve this rate reduction, BCWS took a “back-to-basics” philosophy focusing on reducing energy, chemical, debt, purchased services and labor expenses. BCWS carefully determined the rate reduction so that we can continue providing a reliable supply of water, maintaining and improving our infrastructure and complying with all future regulatory requirements.

How did BCWS set rates?

Water and sewer utilities set rates to cover all costs — the costs of operations, maintenance, overhead and plant investment. To make our rates as reasonable as possible and make sure each customer pays an equitable rate, we periodically conduct formal studies on the cost of providing water and sewer service.

BCWS recently commissioned a cost-of-service study to establish new water and sewer rates. The study analyzed how BCWS allocates costs to each of its seven customer classes: residential, multi-family, commercial, industrial, wholesale, landscape irrigation and fire service. Since each customer class places different levels of demand on the county’s system, each class received a different rate reduction percentage. In addition to conducting studies, BCWS also has a number of other initiatives designed to stabilize rates for the future.

Part of our rate-setting philosophy for water supply has been conservation. BCWS uses an increasing-block rate structure, also called a conservation rate, so the price per thousand gallons increases as water use increases. In other words, customers who use a lot of water and require more system capacity will pay a higher rate than customers who use less water.

For single-family residential customers, these rates went into effect June, 2009:

 Residential Water Charges

     Basic facilities charge
$  5.06 per month
     First 3,000 gallons
$  3.95 per 1,000 gallons
     Next 6,000 gallons
$  5.00 per 1,000 gallons
     Over 9,000 gallons
$  8.31 per 1,000 gallons

 Residential Sewer Charges

     Basic facilities charge
$ 4.27 per month
     All discharges
$ 3.17 per 1,000 gallons

Customers whose wastewater discharge flows to a pump station before going to the treatment plant pay $3.49 per thousand gallons for all discharges, which includes the associated electrical and other added operating costs.

In the summer, BCWS bases sewer charges on average winter use because higher summer water use typically does not go into the sewer collection system. This adjustment covers the period between the first meter reading in May and the meter reading in October.

How are rates determined?

  • Debt Repayment — As a relatively young system, BCWS has a high cost for capital investment, paying off bonds and interest that was needed to build the water system and provide necessary capacity. Our average cost for water is higher than in an older city, such as Dayton or Cincinnati. Older systems have the advantage of having already paid off their debt.
  • Purchased Water — Rather than build and manage a water plant, BCWS has long-term contracts to purchase water from two suppliers.
  • Geographical Area — Many any of our neighbors have a more condensed geographical system. In other words, they have more customers per square mile than BCWS which means they can spread their costs over a greater number of users. As our system grows, BCWS will capture more revenue from new customers which will help pay off our debt.
  • Growth & Infrastructure Maintenance — BCWS’ service area has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in the past 10 years. To ensure that our system can accommodate this growing demand, we have implemented a capital  improvement schedule to replace and improve existing water and sewer lines and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Increasing Regulatory Environment — BCWS operates under strict state and federal rules and regulations. As a result, there are significant costs to maintain compliance. As regulations become more stringent, BCWS must make necessary improvements to ensure the public water supply is safe.

More information is available by calling 513-887-3066.