New Rate Structure for Waukesha Water Utility Will Encourage Residents to Conserve Water Use

MADISON – Today, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) reviewed and approved the City of Waukesha Water Utility’s request to increase water rates.

The Waukesha Water Utility asked the Commission for authority to change its water rates, primarily to cover costs associated with water treatment measures, well improvements and operating costs.  The proposal is also part of the utility’s efforts to curb water use in the community.  The new rate structure promotes water conservation by charging higher rates for residential customers using more than 30,000 gallons per billing period.

“I applaud Waukesha for coming forward with the state’s first water conservation rate structure,” said Chairperson Dan Ebert.  “This is a significant step to protecting our precious water resources in southeastern Wisconsin.”

In a verbal decision today, the Commission set rates for the City of Waukesha Water Utility to increase by approximately 16 percent, about $7.40 on the average residential customer’s quarterly bill.  As part of the Commission’s decision, the Waukesha Water Utility will be required to evaluate the new rate structure for their residential customers, determine it’s effects on water conservation and report back to the Commission next year.

“Waukesha Water Utility’s step to implement a rate structure that promotes water conservation is a step in the right direction,” said Commissioner Mark Meyer.  “I look forward to seeing what impacts on behavior this new rate structure has and encourage the utility to continue its efforts to educate its customers on the importance of water conservation.” 

“Historically, Wisconsin has been water-rich, but that is changing in certain parts of our state,” said Commissioner Lauren Azar.  “We can no longer take water for granted and water conservation rates are an important way to protect Wisconsin’s water resources.  I welcome efforts for utilities to adopt similar conservation programs for all of their customers.”

When a utility requests a change in rates, the PSC conducts a thorough audit of the utility’s expenses and revenues.  A public hearing on the utility’s request was held earlier this month in Waukesha and Madison.  The testimony provided at this hearing was part of the record the Commission reviewed as it considered all aspects of the application.  The Commission will issue a written order to finalize today’s decision.

Documents associated with this case can be viewed on the PSC’s Electronic Regulatory Filing System at  Type case number 6240-WR-105 in the boxes provided on the PSC homepage, or click on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System button.