Archive for the ‘Rates’ Category

July 9, 2013

Sign up for E-Statements and Receive $5.00 Rebate

credit card onlineIf you’re not already signed up for E-statements, now is the time to do so. Customers signing up for E-statements July 1 through December 31, 2013, will receive a one-time, $5.00 rebate on their water bill.  To sign up for E-statements, visit Des Moines Water Works to set up an online account.  Once logged into your account, simply select Go Paperless from the top green navigation bar.

Currently, only 5% of Des Moines Water Works’ customers receive Estatements. It costs $0.84 to print and mail just one paper statement, and DMWW’s annual expenses for printing and mailing statements is $866,000. Des Moines Water Works saves $43,000 a year with current E-statement customers, but that savings could increase significantly if more customers chose to receive e-statements.

There are many advantages to choosing to receive E-statements. They are convenient, environmentally friendly, help prevent identity theft and they help reduce costs, which in turn, helps keep water rates low.

For more information on E-statements, visit Des Moines Water Works or contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Amy Kahler 5 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Environment, Green Initiatives, Rates June 10, 2013

Water Rates: Where Does Your Money Go?

Have you ever wondered where your money goes when you pay your water bill?

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Customers, Rates October 23, 2012

Des Moines Water Works Announces 2013 Budget and Zero Rate Increase for Most Customers

DES MOINES, Iowa (October 23, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 calendar year budget, which includes a zero rate increase for Des Moines and wholesale water customers.  In some communities served by Des Moines Water Works – such as unincorporated Polk County, Pleasant Hill, Cumming, Alleman and Runnells –  who have more significant infrastructure needs, Des Moines Water Works has increased rates for residential customers by five percent.

The proposed budget includes $50.4 million of operating revenue.  Operating expenses are budgeted at $33.3 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $19.4 million.  The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2013 budget on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.

“The Board’s actions are the result of significant efforts by staff to reduce costs during a period of difficult economic challenges for our customers,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manger, Des Moines Water Works.  “However, a zero rate increase will not likely be repeated as the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utilities’ infrastructure and rate increases more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering water.”

For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com.  New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2013, for those customers with rate increases.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates March 26, 2012

Water Rate Increase Effective April 1, 2012

Last October, Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees approved water rate increases that will be effective on water bills beginning April 1. Volume charges for water will increase $0.06 per thousand gallons for residential customers in the City of Des Moines. Water charges for a typical four-person household will increase approximately $0.45 per month. On average, a two-person household will see an increase of approximately $0.22 per month.  Water availability charges are not changing.

For more information on your water rates, visit www.dmww.com.   If you have any questions, please contact Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700.

Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates March 30, 2011

A Breakdown of Capital Improvements

Water Utilities are in a high infrastructure intensive industry.  Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) maintains over 1,360 miles of buried water mains which have 9,800 valves and 8,900 fire hydrants.  We have over 80,000 water meters and automated reading devices serving our customers.  We soon will be adding a third water treatment plant that adds capacity and reliability in water delivery to our customers.  Each of these treatment plants have multiple mechanical, electrical, and controls systems that require a high degree of maintenance to insure these systems work at peak efficiency to allow us to produce the highest level of quality water at the least possible cost. 

The Board of Water Works Trustees have recognized the utility can most cost effectively maintain our infrastructure assets by generating the necessary capital through water rate revenue.  This allows us to pay for the maintenance and replacements on “pay as you go basis.”  The 2011 utility budget included an upcoming rate increase will allow a limited operating budget growth to 4.4% which will produce an estimated $12.8 million for new capital improvement projects after debt service obligations are met.  We will be investing $4.6 million in building and facility maintenance, $5.5 million in the water main distribution system, and $1.4 million in treatment plant improvements as the major areas of focus for 2011.

We will continue to maintain the infrastructure to maximize its life so we can continue to deliver Water You Can Trust for Life.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Infrastructure, Rates March 23, 2011

Water Rate Increase Effective April 1

Last October, the Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees approved water rate increases that will be effective on water bills beginning April 1.  Water availability charges for most residential customers will increase $1 per month.  Volume charges for water will increase $0.27 for residential customers in the City of Des Moines.  Total water charges for a typical four-person household will increase approximately $3.00 per month.  On average, a two-person household will see a total increase of approximately $2.00 per month.

For more information on the rate increase, please refer to an October 2010 blog article.

If you have any questions regarding your bill, please contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Rates November 9, 2010

What is DMWW Doing to Control Costs?

DMWW sets water rates to adequately fund operation and infrastructure investments to ensure high quality water to our customers.  Even though water consumption has declined, the utility has experienced rising costs.  DMWW pays all of its operating expenses but is not collecting sufficient revenue to pay for the needed infrastructure improvements. Instead of taking on debt to invest in improvements, a water rate increase has been approved to help bring revenues in line with costs.

Costs increased 8% in 2009 due to treatment chemicals, system maintenance labor and materials, lime softening residuals disposal and employee benefits.  Staffing levels vary little in periods of reduced consumption.  Our treatment facilities and distribution system must be maintained regardless of the amount of water consumed. 

DMWW has a constant focus on containing costs.  Recent efforts to reduce costs include:

  • The addition of two treatment plants, one in 2000 and one later this year, resulted in only one staff addition
  • Customer pre-termination calls that have reduced field service collection cuts by 25%, thereby allowing field service staff to focus on other areas like more frequent testing of large meters
  • E-Statements to reduce the cost of billing
  • Automated processing of bills, thereby eliminating a nightly IT operator position
  • A work-from-home program for customer service resulting in handling more calls/account activity per customer representative
  • Coordinated with Polk County on a joint asphalt project that saved us $150,000
  • Reduction of senior management by 20%
  • A 0% salary increase to DMWW management team and professionals in 2010
  • Successful application for over $5 million in FEMA funding for riverbank repairs to protect our treatment plant collector well system
Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Infrastructure, Rates October 6, 2010

Potential 2011 Water Rate Increase: We’ll Pay as We Go

DMWW Board of Trustees has not made a specific decision about the size of any water rate increase for 2011.   They will do so at their October 19, 3:30pm Board meeting.  The Trustees have only concluded thus far that water rates and charges need to keep pace with the utility’s Cost of Services. Rates will be set before board members vote on the utility’s budget in November. If approved at the October 19 Board Meeting, water rates will take effect April 1, 2011.

Instead of taking on debt to invest in improvements, a water rate increase is being considered to help bring revenues in line with costs. We have a lot of money invested in water pipes, pumps and treatment plants, and we need to keep up with that investment in maintaining those facilities.  DMWW’s revenue has not kept pace with costs since 2003.  DMWW pays all of its operating expenses but is not collecting sufficient revenue to pay for the needed infrastructure improvements.  The Board of Trustees recognizes DMWW cannot continue this trend without saddling future rate payers and generations with a large tab because of the failure now to set rates and charges to cover the true cost of the utility’s operations.

In spite of these financial and source water challenges, DMWW continues to produce high quality water for our customers.  One example of our exemplary water quality is the recognition received in April 2008 by Forbes.com who ranked Des Moines as being the best city in America for clean drinking water.

Rates for the typical Des Moines customer could go up between 10 percent and 13 percent next year to help bring revenues in line with costs. That would result in water bills that are $1.50 to $2.00 more per month for a two-person household.  Monthly increases would range between $2.00 and $3.00 for the average four-person household.  Currently, the water portion of the bill for an average two-person household is about $15.00 a month and roughly $25.00 for a four-person home.

The proposed rate increase is in response to increases in costs to treat the water and maintain our distribution system. DMWW is committed to spending our limited resources wisely and continually evaluates our programs to be as efficient as possible.

Chemical prices are expected to increase approximately 5 percent in 2011. While significant, the increase is less than those seen over the past few years.  Complex pollution issues in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers, such as routinely elevated levels of fecal bacteria, often complicate the treatment process. Various stretches of the two rivers are on Iowa’s impaired waters list because of problems with bacteria, algae and nitrates, among numerous biological impairments. Water Works staff continues to emphasize the need for aggressive improvements in the sprawling watersheds that feed into the rivers.

Also, wetter-than-average summers over the past three to four years have led to decreased demand and relatively flat water sales.

The last rate increase was April 1, 2009.  The availability charge, the fixed amount of the water bill intended to cover Water Works fixed costs per customer whether or not any water is used, was increased by $2.00 per month in April 2010.

Posted by: Randy Beavers 1 Comment
Labels: , , Posted in Rates, Value of Water