Water rate for multi-family master metered customers changed to year-round on May 1

Sunday, April 16, 2017 9:38:00 AM

On Thursday night, December 8th, the OWASA Board of Directors approved a change to a year-round water rate for multi-family master-metered (MFMM) accounts such as apartment complexes.

The change will go into effect on May 1, 2017.

For MFMM accounts, OWASA bills the property owner rather than individual residents. About one-third of the MFMM owners privately meter and rebill residents for water and sewer service under rules of the NC Utilities Commission.

The Board’s decision follows a public hearing on October 27th. OWASA publicized the proposed change in news releases, its website and mailings and e-mailings.

Current seasonal water rates

MFMM accountholders now pay seasonal water rates:

  • $4.16 per 1,000 gallons of water use from October through April ("off-peak" demand period)
  • $7.91 per 1,000 gallons of water use from May through September ("peak" demand period)

OWASA bills also include fixed monthly service charges for water and sewer service (amount based on the size of the meter serving the property), and $6.48 per 1,000 gallons for sewer service.

The new year-round water rate

A year-round water rate of $5.67 per 1,000 gallons will go into effect in May 2017, when the peak seasonal rate would otherwise go into effect.

Reasons for the rate change

  • Water demand at MFMM locations does not have the seasonal peaking pattern that seasonal rates were originally intended to address. 
  • The change will make bills easier to understand and budget. Most residents in MFMM complexes do not use more water in the warmer months and many are surprised when private bills change due to seasonal rate changes, but their water use does not.

How will the change affect bills to residents of MFMM complexes?

  • For residents whose water use is not individually sub-metered by the property owner, there will be no effect because water and sewer costs are included in rent or homeowners’ association fees.
  • For residents whose water use is sub-metered and rebilled by the owner, the amounts of water and sewer bills would fluctuate based on the resident's water use rather than seasonal changes in rates.

The year-round rate is designed to generate the same revenue as the present seasonal rates for MFMM customers.

For more information

  • Stephen Winters, CPA, Director of Finance and Customer Service, 919-537-4230 or swinters@owasa.org
  • Mary Tiger, Sustainability Manager, 919-537-4241 or mtiger@owasa.org