Oil costs are pulling water bills higher
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Rising oil prices are pushing up the cost of water for Oahu residents, farmers and businesses.
The Board of Water Supply will add a power cost adjustment to the monthly water bill beginning July 1. The adjustment of 9.4 cents per 1,000 gallons will be added monthly through June 30, 2009. It will mean an additional $1.22 a month on the average bill of a family of four, according to department figures.
The surcharge is needed to recover from a budget shortfall of $5.6 million. The department planned to spend $17 million on electricity for its operations during the fiscal year ending June 30, but the power bill topped $23 million.
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Oahu residents and businesses will see their monthly water and sewer use bill increase by about 15 percent on July 1.
Monthly water and sewer bills will rise by about 15 percent. For an average family of four using 13,000 gallons of water monthly:
» Water: $29.12 ($2.24 per 1,000 gallons)
» Sewer*: $62.51 ($42.71 base charge plus $1.80 per 1,000 gallons)
Total monthly bill: $91.63
» Water: $31.98 ($2.46 per 1,000 gallons)
» Sewer*: $73.72 ($50.40 base charge plus $2.12 per 1,000 gallons)
» Power cost adjustment: $1.22
Total monthly bill: $106.92
* For sewer fees, there is no charge for first 2,000 gallons
Source: Honolulu City and County
Added to a planned rate hike will be a power cost adjustment that reflects the rising cost of oil. An audit by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply found that the department's $23 million electric bill for the fiscal year ending June 30 is $5.6 million more than was projected when the rate schedule was set.
Water users will pay an extra 9.4 cents per 1,000 gallons, which translates to $1.22 a month on the average bill of a household using 13,000 gallons a month.
The Board of Water Supply's rate schedule allows it to assess a power cost adjustment to account for rising electricity costs.
It is the first time Oahu customers will bear the extra charge. The other counties already implemented similar surcharges to offset the hike in fuel costs.
The adjustment tops off a scheduled increase in water usage cost, up to $2.46 from $2.24 for each 1,000 gallons used.
The average family of four using 13,000 gallons a month will pay $33.20 for water each month, up from $29.12. The rate schedule with annual increases through July 2010 was adopted by the Board of Water Supply in 2005.
But incoming flow accounts for less than half of a household's bill for water use. That average family will see its sewer use fee go to $73.72, an $11 hike over the previous year.
The sewer service charge for a single-family home or duplex will include a $50.40 monthly base rate plus $2.12 for each 1,000 gallons of water. That is up from the current $42.71 base with $1.80 per 1,000 gallons. The base rate for a multiunit building is $35.30 per apartment. The first 2,000 gallons of metered water are without charge.
The City Council approved last year the city administration's proposal to double the monthly sewer charge by 2011 in an effort to accelerate repair work on the island's deteriorating sewer lines. The request came a year after 42 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Ala Wai Canal from a ruptured water main in Waikiki.
The price of water increases when usage increases. After the first 13,000 gallons, a residential household pays $2.96 for 1,000 gallons. For more than 30,000 gallons, the cost will be $4.42.
The business rate is $2.76 per 1,000 gallons.
Agricultural users will pay $2.46 for 1,000 gallons for the first 13,000 gallons and $1.05 per 1,000 gallons for additional water.