WSSC Adopts Modern and Simplified Rate Structure

First New Rate Structure Adopted in More than 25 Years Scheduled to Take Effect July 1, 2019

| News Release

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Commissioners Also Elect Chris Lawson as New Commission Chair


Laurel, Md. – June 19, 2019 – WSSC Commissioners today adopted a new rate structure at their monthly meeting in Laurel. A rate structure is how customers are charged for water/sewer. This is the first new rate structure for WSSC in more than 25 years and was selected following a transparent and extensive public engagement process. The new rate structure is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2019. 

“Today’s adoption of a modern and simplified rate structure is the culmination of a deliberate process that focused extensively on transparency and public outreach,” said newly elected Commission Chair Chris Lawson.

The rate structure is a four-tier inclining block rate structure, meaning that the price increases as customers use more water and enter higher tiers. Under the simplified rate structure, the amount of water in each tier and the price per tier have changed to reflect how customers use water today. With the passage of the Maryland Water Conservation Act of 2002, state guidance specifically identifies an inclining block rate structure as a strategy for encouraging water conservation. The simplified structure will replace WSSC’s existing 16-tier rate structure, which has been in effect since 1992.

“We will continue to reach out to customers to ensure they are aware of this change, along with the other ways we are modernizing and improving our approach to customer service,” said WSSC General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid.

Along with the new rate structure, WSSC customers can expect the following customer service improvements:

  • Redesigned bills that are easier to understand;
  • An online bill calculator so customers can estimate future bills;
  • Enhanced customer affordability programs; and
  • Easy and accessible options for customers to pay their bills.

The development of the new rate structure involved nationally renowned rate structure experts, an authority on Maryland water conservation, a consumer advocate and affordability expert, and extensive customer outreach. To ensure customers were engaged, WSSC held or participated in more than 30 public meetings or hearings since spring 2017, which were attended by approximately 2,500 customers and generated more than 300 total comments.

The basis for the new rate structure included the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) directive to develop a new structure. The Maryland PSC directed WSSC to develop a new rate structure after ruling the current 16-tier structure was unreasonable because it was unduly preferential to low-usage customers.

With the new rate structure, combined with the fiscal year (FY) 2020 five percent revenue increase, a family of three that uses the average amount of water (55 gallons per person per day) will see their quarterly bill increase by about $4. The typical household size in WSSC’s service area is a three-person household. For more information about the new rate structure, and to use an online bill calculator to estimate future bills, customers are encouraged to visit wsscwater.com/billchanges.

During today’s monthly meeting, WSSC Commissioners also elected Chris Lawson to serve as Chair for FY20. Lawson represents Prince George’s County and has been a WSSC Commissioner since 2011. T. Eloise Foster, representing Montgomery County, was elected as Vice Chair.

Six Commissioners govern WSSC, which has an FY20 annual operating and capital budget of nearly $1.5 billion. Three Commissioners are residents of Montgomery County and three are residents of Prince George’s County. Commissioners are appointed by their respective county executives to four-year terms and are confirmed by their county councils. In addition to selecting a new Chair each year, the Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship alternate by county. For a complete look at WSSC’s governance visit wsscwater.com/governance.

For 100 years, WSSC has proudly served the citizens of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – providing drinking water that has always met strict Safe Drinking Water Act standards and protecting the environment through vital water resource recovery services. Our vision is to be THE world-class water utility, where excellent products and services are always on tap.

 

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