WSSC Public Hearing Set for Aug. 6 in Rockville
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is hosting two meetings over the next week to discuss proposed changes to its customer bills.
The proposed changes are part of an effort to shift the billing system to a more modern, equitable and predictable approach to gathering revenue. Customers shouldn’t assume the changes will lead to higher bills. The proposal aims to lower future rate increases.
“The good news is that customers are clearly listening to calls for water conservation,” said Jerry N. Johnson WSSC’s GM/CEO. “The quandary for WSSC, and water utilities across the country, is that 95% of our revenues come directly from ratepayers. The decreased demand for water means WSSC has less money for maintenance and upgrades of its aging system.”
Proposed changes include raising the Account Maintenance Fee, which is intended to cover the costs of purchasing customer meters; as well as installing, reading and maintaining them, as well as all other customer service expenses. The existing quarterly charge of $11 for residential accounts has not been increased since its inception in 1990 – about a quarter century ago. The current fee only covers approximately 70% of the costs of maintaining customer accounts.
In addition, WSSC is proposing a fixed, infrastructure-reconstruction fee. Based on the meter size of each customer, this fee would provide a predictable source of funding to repair and maintain 5,600 miles of water pipes and 5,400 miles of sewer pipes. With these fees in place, WSSC would have a more predictable and reliable revenue base, with the intended result of lowering the size of rate increases going forward.
Two public meetings are scheduled:
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Stella B. Werner Building
7th Floor Council Hearing Room
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Prince George’s County RMS Building
1400 McCormick Drive
Largo, MD 20774
Those who wish to speak at either of the meetings should contact WSSC’s Budget Group at 301.206.8110 prior to the meeting dates. Those who wish to submit a written statement for inclusion in the record of the meeting should e-mail the statement to BudgetGroup@wsscwater.com or send it to Letitia Carolina-Powell, Acting Budget Group Leader, WSSC, 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707.