At their last meeting, the Utility Commission unanimously voted to increase the consumption charge to Waterford ratepayers by 10 percent, meaning a 6.29 percent increase to the average ratepayer.
Waterford residents, or at least residents who don’t have wells, pay their water bills to New London. The Waterford Utility Commission is in control of the cost of sewer rates, and if the move is approved by the Representative Town Meeting it will increase consumption costs 10 percent, from $3.50 per 100 cubic feet of water used to $3.85 per 100 cubic feet of water used, according to the commission’s August 21st meeting minutes.
The actual cost to consumers depends on how much water a consumer uses. All town sewer bills are broken into two parts, a set fee based on the size of a consumer’s home or business and a consumption fee. The set fee is staying flat in this proposal, and the consumption fee is increasing by 10 percent.
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A public hearing will be held on the proposal on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium, according to the Utility Commission’s August 21st meeting minutes. This is the first proposal to raise sewer rates in three years, according to meeting minutes.
There are two parts to a Waterford sewer bill. The first part is a set cost based on the size of the building, which is measured in equivalent dwelling units (EDUs). Most homes in Waterford are charged for one EDU, which costs $180 per year regardless of how much water that home uses. That charge will not change under this proposal.
The second part of the sewer bill is based off of how much water a consumer uses, and thereby goes down the drain and needs to go to the sewer treatment plant. Right now, for every 758 gallons of water a person uses, they pay $3.50, and under the proposal people will pay 10 percent more, or $3.85 for the same amount.
The actual rate increase will depend on how much water a consumer uses. However, the Utility Commission assumes the average consumer uses 65,000 gallons of water per year, which would mean a 6.29 percent increase in cost.
In real dollars, if a consumer uses 65,000 gallons of water in a building being charged for one EDU (which is the average home), they now pay $480.13 per year. If this proposal were adopted, that consumer would pay $510.14 per year, or an extra $30.01.
After the public hearing on September 18, the Waterford RTM will vote on the proposed increase at their regular meeting on October 1. The largest reason the Utility Commission has to increase its costs is because the sewer treatment plant in New London increased its cost for processing sewage, Board of Finance member and Utility Commission liaison J.W. “Bill” Sheehan said.