Posts Tagged ‘water rates’

November 21, 2016

2017 Budget and Water Rates

Des Moines Water Works staff has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2017 calendar year budget, which includes revenue from 2017 rate increases for all service areas.  The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2017 budget on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.

The Board approved a 10 percent rate increase for most customers at their October meeting. The rate increase equates to an additional $2.78 per month for water charges for a four-person household (using 7,500 gallons) in Des Moines.  Alleman customers will see a 15 percent rate increase based on capital improvements made to their water system.  In addition, a five percent increase for the Wholesale With Storage rate was approved.  The rate increases will result in approximately $3.3 million of increased water revenue for 2017.  New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2017.  For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2017 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.

The proposed 2017 budget includes $62 million of operating revenue. Additional funding from outside entities of nearly $16 million will fund joint projects.

The proposed 2017 operating expenses are budgeted at $41.6 million, an increase of $1 million from 2016, primarily due to increases in labor and benefits and plant maintenance expenses.  Capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $29.6 million. Additional funding sources of $16 million leaves approximately $13.6 million of capital projects to be funded from the utility’s revenues. This compares to approximately $10.7 million of capital projects budgeted from the utility’s revenues in 2016.  In addition to operating and capital expenditures, $5.3 million will be spent on debt repayment.

As the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases and annual budgets will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering safe drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates November 9, 2015

2016 Budget and Water Rates

The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2016 calendar year budget, which includes revenue from 2016 rate increases for Des Moines, total service, and wholesale water customers.  The 10 percent rate increase for all customers, approved by the Board in October, equates to an increase of about $2.55 per month for a four-person household (7,500 gallons) inside Des Moines.

The rate increases will result in approximately $3.2 million of increased water revenue for 2016. As the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering quality water.

The proposed 2016 budget includes $59.4 million of operating revenue. Operating expenses are budgeted at $40.6 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $22.2 million.

The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2016 budget on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.

New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2016. For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2016 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Rates November 24, 2014

Investment in Aging Water Infrastructure and Degraded Source Water

PumpsIn setting water rates and the proposed budget for 2015, the Board of Water Works Trustees has demonstrated a continued commitment to investing in Des Moines’ aging water infrastructure and providing safe water to customers, despite increasingly poor quality of source waters.

“While Des Moines Water Works has a long history of substantial reinvestment in water infrastructure, the aging of our assets and our increasing concerns about the impacts of climate change requires even greater investment going forward,” said Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. “The degradation of our infrastructure is evidenced by the increasing number of main breaks, and affects our mission to provide a quality and reliable service to our customers.”

The Board of Water Works Trustees believe in a funding philosophy of “pay as you go,” where improvements and replacements are funded through rates and not funded by debt, all while maintaining reasonable water rates in relation to the rest of the country.

The proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2015 calendar year budget includes rate increases for Des Moines, total service, and wholesale water customers. The rate increases include a 7% increase for Des Moines and total service customers and a 5% increase for wholesale customers, namely suburban customers who purchase water from Des Moines Water Works to resell to their residents. The 7% rate increase is only for the water portion of the monthly bill, not city services that Des Moines Water Works collects for city agencies. For a typical four-person household inside the city of Des Moines, the 7% increase equates to an additional $1.65 on a customer’s monthly water bill.

Certain service areas, such as unincorporated Polk County, have greater capital needs to combat an aging system and accommodate growth. Beyond a 7% increase in rates, those customers will have an additional $1.50/thousand gallon fee that will fund significant capital improvements in the service area.

The 7% increase for Des Moines customers is fundamental to supporting operations and a healthy capital reinvestment program, including facilities necessary to adequately treat source waters that continue to degrade.

“Delivering safe and reliable water to our customers is a capital intensive responsibility,” said Stowe. “Even while working efficiently, the costs for treatment and distribution of water continue to rise. To not invest in critical water infrastructure and capital improvement projects would be irresponsible.”

In addition to investment in the aging infrastructure, the 2015 rates reflect the nearly $1 million Des Moines Water Works spent in 2013 to reduce nitrate concentrations found in Des Moines Water Works’ source waters to a level below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking water standard.

Within the proposed 2015 budget, 16% of the utility’s capital budget will be spent on improvements to naturally reduce rising nitrate levels in source waters. This includes the use of sand quarries and gravel pits that naturally filter nitrate – a longer term investment and more cost effective solution in comparison to operating and expanding the expensive nitrate removal facility.

New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2015. A complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2015 water rate structure is available at www.dmww.com/upl/documents/library/2015-water-rates.pdf.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Infrastructure, Rates, Value of Water, Water Quality October 28, 2013

2014 Budget and Water Rates

The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2014 calendar year budget, which includes rate increases for Des Moines, total service, and wholesale water customers. The rate increases, approved by the Board in October, reflect a 4% increase for wholesale customers and a 5% increase for Des Moines and total service customers. The 5% rate increase for a four-person household inside Des Moines equates to an increase of about $0.75 per month.

The rate increases will result in approximately $1.3 million of increased water revenue for 2014. Des Moines Water Works had a zero rate increase last year; however, as the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering quality water. For example, Des Moines Water Works experienced a significant cost of approximately $900,000 in 2013 to remove nitrate from drinking water, a cost that unfortunately has been passed on to ratepayers.

The proposed 2014 budget includes $52.2 million of operating revenue. Operating expenses are budgeted at $35.2 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $16.1 million.

The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2014 budget on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.

New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2014. For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2014 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.

For more information on where your water rates go, view this video:

Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-LxCwX_Y2M&feature=c4-overview&list=UUJgCngYb6htSqTCgjCPy0iw

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, 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