Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - 4:36am
Madison-The Wisconsin Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on the Madison Water Utility's rate increase request on December 8 at 10 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 $19.76 or approximately $3.30 per month. This works out to 11 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 plans to continue a high efficiency toilet rebate program, which has proven popular among customers seeking to reduce their water usage. Although the budget for toilet rebates will remain unchanged at $250,000, the program's scope will be expanded in 2010 to include apartment buildings as well as single-family homes. Water conservation by Madison residents effectively defers the need for new well construction 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 $98.84 for water every six months. By comparison, customers in other Wisconsin cities pay more for the same amount of water: Menasha, $217.88; Oshkosh, $200.50; Marshfield, $157.00; Beaver Dam, $142.90; Watertown, $157.60; Green Bay, $124.00; and Racine, $125.50.
- Gail Gawenda, Water Utility PIO608:266-9129