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.

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