Madison Water Utility files for first water rate increase since 2015

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 10:13am

Customers could see an increase on their bills next May

UPDATE - 5/17/2018 

Madison Water Utility will likely raise its water rates by more than originally planned. Last fall, the utility filed for an overall increase of 26 percent, but the Public Service Commission advised the utility to increase that initial request in order to generate more funds to provide sufficient bond coverage. Madison Water Utility is currently seeking a 32 percent increase, although that amount could still be revised in the months ahead. A rate increase would only apply to the water portion of a customer's Madison Municipal Service Bill and could go into effect as early as October. Residential customers could see their bills go up by $5 to $9 per month, depending on how much water they use.

A press release issued in April by Madison Water Utility incorrectly listed the potential increase at 23 percent.

Madison Water Utility has filed an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) seeking an increase in water rates. If approved, new rates could go into effect next spring. The utility is seeking an overall 26% increase in revenues, or an additional $8.7 million dollars. The funds would offset costs to replace deteriorating water mains, reconstruct aging wells, and improve water quality. The increase would also help the utility recover lost revenue due to the closure of the Oscar Mayer plant.

Madison Water Utility is a non-profit, municipally-owned utility. Any rate increase would apply only to the water portion of a customer’s Municipal Services Bill. Madison homeowners currently pay about $19 a month for water on average. While it has not been determined how a rate increase would be spread across the utility’s various customer classes (commercial, industrial, residential, public authority, and multi-family), residential customers could see an increase of $3 to $7 per month.

The PSC will now review the rate application, a process that will likely take more than six months. A public hearing on the increase will be scheduled in early 2018.

Madison Water Utility’s charges make up about a third of the average Municipal Service Bill, which also includes charges for Sewer, Stormwater, Urban Forestry, and Landfill. You can see how the utility spends revenue from water rates by watching this short, 3-minute video: What Does Your Water Dollar Pay For?

MWU encourages customers to track exactly how much water they’re using by taking advantage utility’s online conservation tool. The tool lets people view their weekly, daily, even hourly water use online and set up usage threshold alerts. So far, nearly 10,000 customers have logged on to track their water use.


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