New round of water rate increases eyed

GWA Badger meter (PNC file photo)

The Consolidated Commission on Utilities will be considering a series of water rate increases for the next three years starting with a 10 percent basic charge water rate increase for fiscal year 2022.

The rate increase plan was presented Wednesday morning by GWA consultant Eric Rothstein.

The plan is proposed to serve as a basis for a May 1, 2021, rate application update to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission.

Aside from the 10 percent rate increase for fiscal year 2022, the plan also calls for another 10 percent increase in FY 2023 and a 7 perecnt increase in FY 2024.

This rate increase schedule represents an “enhanced” true-up of GWA’s initial rate increase proposal.

With a 5% increase during FY2020 and a 5% increase in FY 2021 earlier approved by PUC, the cumulative rate increase from FY2020 to FY 2024 will total 37 percent, if this new round of rate increases for the next three years is approved.

The proposed rate increase also provides a legislative surcharge increase of 4.20 percent for FY 2022, 3.95 percent for FY 2023, and a 3.75 percent increase for FY 2024. The legislative surcharge was set to provide full funding for retiree expenses.

According to the consultants, the rate increases are needed to fund the capital improvement projects required by GWA’s stipulated order.

GWA has been rebuilding the island’s antiquated water and wastewater facilities and has been working on a five-year rate increase plan to raise money for its capital improvement projects.

PUC earlier approved the first two years of the rate increase plan but then asked for more detailed studies before approving any more rate increases.

The current rate increase proposal is a result of those detailed studies and, if approved by the PUC, will be in effect for three years starting this October.

The CCU will be meeting on Tuesday, April 27, to discuss the water rate increase proposal and decide on what it will recommend for action by the PUC.