(PRWEB) September 30, 2016
To help fix the city's crumbling infrastructure and error-plagued billing system, city officials recently proposed and were approved a three-year package of water and sewer rate rate increases. According to Baltimore Sun, water rates will increase an average of 9.9 percent annually and sewer rates will increase 9 percent a year through fiscal year 2019. The Department of Public Works said the yearly water bill for a typical family would likely increase about $170 by the third year of the plan. The rate proposals also include increases for the city's water customers in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties.1
The city asserts that rate increases are needed to ensure the utilities remain self-sustaining, to support stepped up replacement of aging infrastructure, and to meet federal and state mandates.
Correspondingly, Department of Public Works (DPW) is making adjustments to their business model. Changes include a new rate structure that would eliminate the minimum billing for water usage. DPW is also deploying new meters that are outfitted with wireless technology that is intended to make meter-reading more accurate and improve the timeliness of billing.
"Crises, such as what occurred in Flint, Michigan earlier this year, emphasize the importance of proactive infrastructure management. No one likes to hear that utility rates are increasing- I certainly don’t, but it's important to acknowledge that it is necessary and underline the benefits that come with the new rate structure," greeNEWit VP Michael Santiago said. "The removal of minimum billing is a major improvement. It allows Maryland residents and businesses to reduce their water use and realize the full impact of savings, as opposed to being charged a fixed minimum regardless of how much they consume. This creates an opportunity for people to use less and pay less, which should help neutralize the effects of increased rates. New meters will also improve accuracy and timeliness of bills so people can track water usage closer and catch costly leaks early.”
Water rates are scheduled to increase 9.9 percent on October 11, 2016; 9.9 percent on July 1, 2017; and 9.9 percent on July 1, 2018. Sewer rates would increase 9 percent on October 11, 2016; 9 percent on July 1, 2017; and 9 percent on July 1, 2018. That would mean an overall adjustment of 9.4 percent each year. As part of the overhaul of the city's water-billing system, officials say they plan to switch from a quarterly billing cycle to monthly bills starting Oct. 11.2
greeNEWit is dedicated to keeping utilities affordable for all local businesses and residents and offers support conserving water to ensure increasing water rates don't become a financial burden. greeNEWit has designed a water efficiency upgrade package that reduces water consumption, while maintaining a positive user-experience. Those upgrades include:
- High efficiency toilets that utilize hydraulic technology to improve performance and decrease water usage by 50%
- Flow efficient shower heads and faucet aerators that save one gallon per minute of use, on average
- Flow management devices that reduce supply line air volume and improve meter accuracy, which typically saves 10% on overall property water consumption
greeNEWit also offers support for residents, in the form of either a Quick Home Energy Check Up or a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit, both of which include the installation of shower heads and aerators that conserve water.
If you are a local business owner in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard Counties, email Michael Santiago at michael.s(at)greeNEWit(dot)com before October 11, 2016 to see how the new rates will affect you. If you are a local resident looking for solutions for your home, schedule your appointment online.
greeNEWit is the national leader in sustainable community development and smart grid integration. The firm develops, manages, and implements net-zero trajectory assets to help make communities more resilient, sustainable, and economically prosperous. With clients that include some of the most successful developers and managers of student, military, and multifamily housing, greeNEWit is a tech-enabled service business in the growing clean-tech space. For more information, visit: greeNEWit.com.