Friday, April 1, 2011 - 4:41am
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on the Madison Water Utility's rate increase request on April 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the PSC's building located at 610 North Whitney Way.
The proposed increase would raise the average residential customer's six-month water bill by about $7.62 or approximately $1.27 per month. This works out to 4 cents per day for an average household of 2.3 people.
The utility has requested an increase to cover higher operational and maintenance costs as well as significant additional capital investment, including repair and replacement of aging water mains, some of which are 100 years old and prone to breakage as the mercury drops. Planned investments are also being driven by a renewed emphasis on water quality.
Madison residents receive a municipal services bill every six months, a bill that includes not only their water usage and public fire protection but also charges for sewer, storm water, and landfill remediation. These separate charges are not part of the water utility rate case.
The water utility is continuing a high efficiency toilet rebate program, which has proven popular among customers seeking to reduce their water usage. Water conservation by Madison residents effectively slows the need for new capacity as the city grows.
Madison's water rates have been among the lower rates in the state for utilities of similar size. If the PSC approves the new rates, the average Madison residential customer will pay $102.60 for water every six months. By comparison, customers in other Wisconsin cities pay about the same or more for the same amount of water: Green Bay, $100.20; Menasha, $202.25; Oshkosh, $153.32; Marshfield, $124.38; and Watertown, $128.28.
- Gail Gawenda, Water Utility PIO608:266-9129