2022/23 Rate Changes
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What charges are reflected on my water bill?
It’s important to understand the structure of your monthly water bill. This will help you understand how these funds help us maintain and improve different systems that protect the public health in Benbrook. Your utility bill includes service fees for your drinking water, wastewater (sewer), storm water utility system, and refuse & recycling. The rates for these fees are calculated in different ways, and the fees for storm water and refuse and recycling are included on the BWA bill on behalf of the City of Benbrook.
Why are my rates changing?
Our responsibilities include producing and delivering safe drinking water to our customers as well as protecting the health of our community through wastewater collection (sanitary sewer). In 2020, we hired outside consultants to examine our long-term financial needs so that we can continue maintaining these services in the future by, among other endeavors, replacing or upgrading piping and equipment in the water distribution system and wastewater collection system. To help ensure we can make these investments in the future, we began implementing their recommendations in June of 2021 with a simple increase in wastewater rates. We continued to follow their recommendations in June 2022 with the implementation of winter quarter average billing for wastewater services.
The Water & Wastewater Rate Study prepared by our consultants recommended a change to a simplified water rate (billing) structure, and projected that no net water revenue increase would be necessary until 2023. Following the recommendations from the study, the BWA Board approved Resolution 2022-12, which provides for the simplified rate structure as well as the increase in water revenues anticipated.
Wastewater billing and rates have been modified beginning in 2021 to stay on track with the recommendations of the rate study. Passage of Resolution 2022-12 marks the first change in water rates at BWA since the Fall of 2016.
How will my bill change?
With the adoption of Resolution 2022-12, customers can expect to see changes to both water and wastewater charges.
Wastewater bills will reflect a modest (5%) increase in wastewater rates beginning in January 2023. For single family residential customers, bill amounts will remain the same from January through March 2023, after which 2022-23 winter quarter average volumes will be calculated which will be used for billing during the next 12 months. Please click here for more information on winter quarter average billing.
With the adoption of Resolution 2022-12, all customer bills will include a fixed charge based on their water meter size that will be independent of usage. In addition to the fixed charge, single family residential customers will be billed for usage based on a simplified (3-tier*) rate structure which depends on the usage volume each month. All other customer classes will be billed a fixed charge (based on meter size) plus a charge for usage which is based on a flat rate.*
*Prior to adoption of Resolution 2022-12, billing for all customer classes included a fixed charge which covered the first 400 cubic feet of usage with additional usage billed based on an 8-tier rate structure.
How will BWA invest the additional funds?
BWA, with recent completion of the Water & Wastewater System Master Plan and CIP, has identified capital improvements needed to ensure we are prepared for future growth in Benbrook. Additionally, BWA regularly evaluates pipes and equipment in the water distribution and wastewater collection systems, determining which areas may require renewal or replacement.
Each year BWA, with assistance from our consultants, conducts an evaluation of a portion of our wastewater system and then proceeds with construction of needed improvements identified during the previous evaluation. These efforts are undertaken in accordance with the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative (SSOI) Plan prepared by BWA and approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in 2018. These measures are part of a 10-year plan to fully evaluate the entire collection system and help ensure the collection system functions as intended, minimizing the potential for sanitary sewer overflows.
What are sanitary sewer overflows?
Sanitary sewer overflows are when raw sewage backs up in the pipes underground and escapes through the manholes in the streets. These overflows are caused by damaged pipes or when blockages occur due to items that are flushed down the toilet or put down the drain that should not be. These items include all wet wipes, fats, oils, grease, etc.
How does BWA change rates?
BWA establishes water and wastewater rates by resolution. On Tuesday November 29, 2022 the BWA Board adopted Resolution 2022-12 with an effective date of January 1, 2023. The Resolution included the following changes to water & wastewater billing:
- Increased previously established wastewater billing (rates) by 5%
- Established fixed charges for water service (independent of usage) based on meter size for all customers
- Established water billing based on usage utilizing a simplified, 3-tier billing structure for single family residential customers.
- Established water billing for all other customer classes based on a flat rate for each customer class (multi-family, commercial, etc.)
Will my rates change in the future?
The BWA Board may consider future adjustments to water and/or wastewater rates as contemplated in the 2020 rate study. Additionally, BWA may consider modifying billing units from a per cubic foot of water basis to a per thousand-gallons of water basis.