AUSTIN, Texas - For the first time in five years, Austin Water is raising rates.
"It’s due to rising costs for most of everything that we buy," said Joseph Gonzales, assistant director at Austin Water. "But we've seen significant increases in the cost of chemicals, the cost of materials, cost of brass parts, several of the goods and services."
According to Austin Water, a typical residential customer will see an average monthly bill increase of just over $2.50.
"It will help offset rising costs while we continue to invest in major infrastructure improvements that will increase service reliability and maintain high water quality for our growing region despite increasing environmental threats," said Gonzales.
Austin Energy also has a couple rate increases going into effect on Nov. 1 as well, including an increase to the base rate.
"The idea behind that is to just gradually raise that rate by a dollar a year to mitigate a larger, one-time rate shock," said Matt Mitchell, spokesperson for Austin Energy.
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Customers will also see an increase to what are called "pass-through charges." The increase will amount to just under $1.50 for the average customer.
"So what we do every year is assess and analyze the cost that we've seen in the previous fiscal year," said Mitchell. "These pass-through costs are just a dollar for dollar reimbursement for the utility."
The pass-through charges are made up of a Regulatory Charge, a Power Supply Adjustment (PSA) and Community Benefit Charge.
According to Austin Energy, the Regulatory Charge covers the cost of transferring energy from one part of the grid to the other. The Power Supply Adjustment (PSA) is for the cost of buying, selling and operating energy on the ERCOT market.
The PSA rate already increased in October due to high costs over the hot summer.
In November, the Community Benefit Charge will be increasing pass-through charge. Of note, the general manager of Austin Energy said in a recent city memo that the Regulatory Charge is "proposed to decrease" by about $1.00.
"The Community Benefit Charge covers the Customer Assistance Program. It covers streetlight operations and also Energy Efficiency Services," said Mitchell.
The Customer Assistance Program provides discounts to Austin Energy and Austin Water customers that qualify due to financial status or medical issues. To learn more, click here.