Washington Water Receives Final Approval to Increase Rates

On January 15, 2015 at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC or commission) open meeting, approval was given by the commissioners for Washington Water Service to increase its water rates.

On August 14, 2014, Washington Water Service (WWSC) filed tariff revisions with the UTC that would generate approximately $1.5 million (15.9 percent) in additional annual revenue. The proposed general rate increase would offset operational expenses such as transportation costs, property taxes, employee costs, and to recover depreciation and return related to approximately $2.2 million in new investments in capital plant.

On September 24, 2014, the commission issued an order suspending the filing for further review. Commission staff completed its review of the company’s supporting books and records and determined that the company’s books and records support an increase of approximately $1.66 million (17.5 percent) additional annual revenue. Commission staff also found that WWSC’s proposed rate design would have generated approximately $52,000 less than the requested additional $1.5 million annual revenue.

After the review, commission staff and the company agreed to the revised revenue requirement and a revised rate design. On January 7 and 9, 2015 WWSC filed revised tariff rates. The revised rate design increases the base rate and the usage charges for the first and second blocks (steps). The average customer’s bill, using 825 cubic feet, is $1.16 per month more than the original rates proposed in the notice delivered to customers in August of 2014.

Because the initial notice to customers indicated that the commission may set rates higher or lower than those included in the notice, the commission granted an exemption to WAC 480-110-425, requiring that a second notice regarding the rate filing be mailed to the customers.

Instead, WWSC will be placing an abbreviated notice on the customer’s bills to advise them that the rate increase was approved on January 15, 2015 and will become effective on February 1, 2015. Customer’s bills will be prorated during the month of February based on current meter reading and billing schedules. A rate calculator is available below that customers can use to help calculated their prorated bill.

If you have questions about this rate filing or any other topic, please call our Customer Service Department in Gig Harbor at (253) 851-4060 or toll free at (877) 408-4060. We can also be reached by email at: customerservice@www.wawater.com