City Hall: Milwaukee Water Works Pursuing Rate Changes

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Running Tap Water. Image by Steve Johnson (Public Domain).

Running Tap Water. Photo by Steve Johnson (Public Domain).

The Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) is pursuing wide adjustments to its h2o prices. And the changes volition interaction acold much than conscionable Milwaukee residents and businesses, due to the fact that the City-owned inferior sells h2o to 15 suburbs.

“This is simply a precise broad process, digging heavy into our finances, making definite we are successful information recovering our outgo of work from our ratepayers,” said Superintendent Karen Dettmer to members of the Common Council Public Works Committee connected Friday.

Water isn’t sold astatine a level rate, nor is the terms acceptable astatine will. The state-regulated inferior is allowed to supply a complaint of instrumentality to its owner, the City of Milwaukee, aft selling h2o to a assortment of retail and wholesale customers. It’s scheduled to transportation $13.46 cardinal to the city’s wide money this year.

Trilogy Consulting was hired to enactment the evaluation. The steadfast volition assistance the inferior contiguous what is known arsenic a “conventional complaint case” to the Public Service Commission.

“As portion of this solution we volition beryllium coming backmost apt successful September oregon October aft we person had a speech with the Public Service Commission,” said Dettmer. The solution authorizes the inferior to prosecute the adjustments, but does not o.k. immoderate increases (or decreases).

Details connected existent rates would travel successful the future. “We don’t truly look astatine it arsenic a range. What we negociate with the Public Service Commission is simply a complaint of return,” said the superintendent successful effect to a question from Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II.

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The inferior sells h2o straight to Milwaukee, Greenfield, Hales Corners, St. Francis and West Milwaukee h2o users. It sells h2o astatine a wholesale complaint to Brown Deer, Butler, Franklin, Greendale, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, Shorewood, Thiensville, Wauwatosa, West Allis and the Milwaukee County Grounds, which successful crook resell it astatine their ain rates. MWW is besides moving connected a $286 cardinal project to adhd the City of Waukesha arsenic a wholesale customer.

“We privation to marque definite we are going done this successful a stepped process truthful customers don’t spot a large summation successful immoderate 1 year,” said Dettmer. She said the instrumentality pursued would beryllium accrued arsenic Waukesha comes online arsenic a customer. The suburban assemblage is expected to wage astatine slightest $3.2 cardinal annually for h2o erstwhile the pipeline is completed.

Whatever the caller rates extremity up being, Dettmer doesn’t expect it to beryllium the biggest outgo connected resident’s h2o bills. Water charges connected the bill, present known arsenic the Municipal Service Bill, magnitude to astir 25% of the bill’s full estimated the superintendent. The metropolis uses the measure to complaint for different municipal services similar thoroughfare lighting, garbage pickup and snowfall plowing.

MWW’s residential complaint was accrued 3% in 2019 from $2.08 to $2.14 per 100 cubic feet (748 gallons). That equates to 4 gallons of h2o costing conscionable implicit 1 cent. The h2o complaint was past adjusted successful 2017, with MWW noting successful 2019 that its complaint of instrumentality (3.04%) was beneath the authorities mean of 5.7%. The alteration was expected to output an further $2.7 cardinal per twelvemonth successful revenue.

City of Milwaukee non-residential users wage a little complaint per cubic ft arsenic their usage increases, a pricing operation that benefits ample users similar Molson Coors. Suburban businesses successful municipalities that bargain h2o straight (at retail pricing) don’t spot the aforesaid benefit.

The utility’s 2021 fund is $150.1 million.

The committee unanimously recommended approval. The afloat assembly volition reappraisal the petition connected July 27th.

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