City Council Meeting – 12 July 2016 – Interview Interim City Manager Mark Relph

At the end of this meeting the council “interviewed” Mark Relph, Public Works director, for the interim city manager position.  If you don’t have time to read the entire set of minutes – read the interview.  He is a very different leader than Michael Penny. Continue reading

City Council Regular Meeting July 5, 2016 – Reconsideration of the Firing of Michael Penny

City Council Regular Meeting                                Citizen Minutes – July 5th, 2016

This set of minutes is very long – 26 pages.  But there was significant discussion among the council members around the firing of Michael Penny.  A very good meeting and it is worth the read.  It is not as timely as I like to get the minutes out but it was important to get it right – at least the content portion!  I am behind but will try to catch up with the other outstanding minutes. Continue reading

Reporter Wants to Hear from Denver Water Customers on New Rates

Another post from Next Door by Carl Paulson who has done a lot of work analyzing the new DW rates.

Jennifer Brown, the investigative reporter from Denver Post, would like to read your comments. Unfortunately, NextDoor privacy rules preclude her from reading them as she doesn’t reside in our neighborhoods. 

If you leave a comment I will approve with the hopes that Ms. Brown takes a look.

Carl Paulson’s Graph on Customer Consumption for 2014

Here is a graphic showing the percent change expected from 2015 to 2016.  It is based on actual customer consumption for 2014 provided to me from Denver Water for single family residences (they provided no personal identifying information). It is available as Exhibit A from Denver Water’s Board of Commissioners meeting minutes, March 22.  Note that these are annual increases. The monthly increase experienced now will be as high as 50%.


The previous graph didn’t show the horizontal axis with lot size increasing to the right. Basically, it shows what we all know to be true: the largest lots are located in Cherry Hills. That’s not to say there aren’t any outside Cherry Hills, but it is a much lower percentage.


If you look back at the first graph I posted you can see that the top 445 customers will see a savings of $890,000 or $2,000 or a savings of between 20% and 40% each.

Offsetting this are the bottom 20,107 customers who will pay $2,150,000 more than they would have under the 2015 schedule. They will pay 20% to 40% more with this new schedule.

Combining the data from the scatter plot I originally posted with the tables showing yard size by DW contract and annual water consumption I have estimated the following:

Littleton residents will pay $600,000 more per year.

Cherry Hills and Greenwood Village will pay $500,000 less per year.


New Water Rates Explained

Below is an explanation of how the new Denver Water rates were set for water customers in Littleton as seen and analyzed by Carl Paulson, a Littleton resident.  I will be posting more of his work as time permits.

Carl wrote:

It’s hard for me to explain the details of the change without the help of my graphs, so I’ll hit the high points.  The first tier used to go from 0 to 11,000 gallons per month.  Now it stops, for about 75% of us, at 5,000 gallons per month.  The second tier costs about twice as much as the first. So, when the summer comes and we start to water grass, that water costs twice as much as it did in 2015.  Further, the second tier used to go up to 30,000 gallons, but now it stops, again for most us, at 21,000 gallons per month.  This further increases the costs to the low and average users over what they paid in 2015.  The annual increase should be between 20 and 40% for the majority.  The less you use, the greater the percent increase.

There used to be four tiers with the fourth tier beginning at 41,000 gallons per month.  Now there are only three and that last tier begins at 22,000 gallons (again for the majority).  The fourth tier used to cost four times as much as the first tier.  Now it is only 2.4 times as much.  The reduction in the last tier went from $12.16 per 1,000 gallon to $7.87 per 1,000 gallon.  So, you can see that the biggest users will benefit from this new schedule.  They will see a decrease of 20 to 40%.

Regarding the new tiers:  most of us consume 5,000 gallons per month or less during Jan, Feb, and March.  This usage is what determines the size of the first tier.  It is called the Average Winter Consumption, or AWC.  The first tier can be no less than 5,000 gallons and no more than 15,000 gallons.  So, if you only use 3,000 gallons per month during Jan to March, then the first tier goes from 0 to 5,000 gallons.  But if you use 12,000 gallons per month, your first tier extends to 12,000 gallons.  The second tier is 15,000 gallons per month more than whatever the first tier is for you.  So, the calculation is much more complicated than it was in 2015.

I hope this helps.  I can discuss Denver Water’s reasoning and my disagreement with that reasoning separately.  If you would like to meet and discuss, I would be happy to meet at Bemis library with you and anyone else.

Denver Water Rates – Reprinted with Permission from Littleton Unfiltered

Carl Paulson came to Sunshine early this Spring asking for some help and guidance about what steps he should take to pursue the unfairness of the proposed water rates.  He wrote this article for Littleton Unfiltered.  He continues his pursuit of more reasonable water rates.

Denver Water 2016 Rate Schedule: Winners and Losers

Guest Contributor Carl Paulson

If you live in Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village or Cherry Hills and consume less than 125,000 gallons per year get ready for a 10% to 40% increase in your annual water bill.  However, if you are a high rate consumer, you will be the recipient of a 10% to 35% decrease in your bill.  Isn’t redistribution fun?

The 2015 rate schedule was compared to the new 2016 rate schedule for all 32,000 households. The comparison used 2014 consumption volumes from DW.  Some of the results are:

  1. Low volume residents experience a rate increase
  • 28,000 residents are faced with a 10% to 40% increase for an annual increase of $2.85 million
  • Of the above, 20,000 residents are faced with a 20% to 40% increase for an annual increase of $2.15 million
  1. High volume residents experience a decrease
  • 1,200 residents will enjoy a 10% to 35% decrease for an annual decrease of $1.22 million

So, what can be done about this?  Unfortunately, the PUC doesn’t regulate DW. The DW Board is appointed by the Mayor of Denver.  Probably the best hope for change is public outcry. Call DW (303-893-2444) and ask them to calculate your new water bill based on your 2015 and 2014 water rates. Ask them to explain the rate change. Express your opinion of the new rate schedule.

Please feel free to contact me at with any questions about this issue.

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