CUSTOMERS WILL SEE INCREASES REFLECTED ON JANUARY 2018 UTILITY BILLS
Naperville utility customers are advised that they will see rate increases in both the water/wastewater and electric portions of their utility bills beginning in January 2018. The water/wastewater increase, which was approved in December 2017, positions the Water Utility for a structurally balanced budget moving forward. An average residential water/wastewater customer will see the following increase in their monthly bills through 2021:
In 2017, the Water Utility conducted a rate study to help plan for its financial needs through 2021. Throughout the study, the utility considered the costs of day-to-day operations, critical infrastructure improvements needed to ensure continued reliability and upcoming Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would require phosphorus removal improvements to the Springbrook Water Reclamation Center. A new rate structure was put into place in May 2017 to meet these needs.
However, during the 2018 budget process, discrepancies were noted in the Water Utility’s year-to-date financial performance that ultimately led to the discovery of three errors in the 2017 rate study. These errors resulted in the utility’s actual revenues and expenses differing significantly from what the rate study projected. Without intervention to fix the errors, the utility would be underfunded for the foreseeable future.
The rate increase provides the utility with a structurally balanced budget where revenues fully cover operating expenses and capital improvement costs beginning in 2018. In addition, the new rates begin the process of rebuilding the utility’s required cash reserves within the coming years. The utility’s operating budget for 2018 is flat due to operational efficiencies, and through these efficiencies, the utility absorbed several hundred thousand dollars of increases in energy, healthcare and other expenses to keep utility rates as low as possible.
“We regret the errors in the rate study and the late changes in the rates for 2018,” Water Utility Director Jim Holzapfel said. “We recognize that rate increases are never welcomed, but ensuring adequate financial resources to provide safe, reliable and efficient water and wastewater services to our customers is critical. A structurally balanced water utility also aligns with our City’s financial principle of maintaining an overall structurally balanced budget. We want to be as transparent as possible with this rate increase so our customers can appropriately plan for the coming year.”
The new rates still include a phosphorus surcharge as a separate line item on utility bills, and the rates in the above chart include this surcharge figure. In 2018, the charge will increase to $1 per month from .50 cents per month and to $1.80 per month in 2019, 2020 and 2021. More information on water rates is available on the City’s website at www.naperville.il.us/waterrates.
Electric rates will also be increasing in 2018. This is a planned increase resulting from the utility’s 2015 rate study. This study called for annual rate increases to account for increasing purchased power costs, rebuilding required cash reserves and repaying a loan to the Water Utility. Effective January 2018, residential customers will see a 3.6 percent increase in their rates. Currently, the average residential customer’s monthly bill is $107.53; this monthly average will increase to $111.39 in 2018.
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