What are Water and Sewer Base Fees?
March 22, 2021
What are the “Water and Sewer Base Fees” charged by your municipal utility?
The “Base Fee” charges are a component in in the utility’s total revenue structure. Some municipal utilities charge a higher rate per gallon of water , while others charge less per gallon, and include higher base fees (minimum charges regardless of consumption).
Simple Economics, but not really:
1. "Water Base Fees" make up for Non-revenue water consumption (lost water);
2. Non-revenue water consumption is due to aging infrastructure (old meters and leaking pipes). Old meters do not capture (measure ) low flow.
3. New "Smart Meters" (like the meters used in sub-metering) proactively identify water wastes and leaks, ideally water consumption drops, resulting in the municipal utility increasing the "Base Fees" to offset the loss of revenue (i.e. water conservation).
4. Don't worry, the inconceivable rational of your property’s Water Base Fees are reviewed by your state’s Public Utility Commission.
5. What about "Sewer Base Fees"? Unfortunately, Sewer Base Fees typically do not fall under the regulatory oversight of the PUC: Sewer infrastructure (pipes and treatment plants) are financed through Municipal Revenue Bonds; Sewer Rates and Fees are established to ensure the Bond investors get paid.
Now that W & S Base Fees are cleared up:
"Storm Water Fees ...... A fee for something that falls from the sky? "