City Hall

SPU: Rates Going Up, But We Still Pay Less Than Other Cities

By Erica C. Barnett October 6, 2011

Seattle Public Utilities' 2012 budget includes the expected bad news---rates are going up---and a silver lining: While Seattle's water rates are higher than in any other city in the nation (followed by Atlanta, Honolulu, and San Diego), we actually pay less for water overall, because we use less water than residents of other cities.

"It'sĀ important to look at these metrics not only from percentage rate increase but what cousteomers actually pay," SPU director Ray Hoffman told the city council this morning. "The average single family customer pays less [for utilities overall] than the average single-family home pays to put gas in their cars. ... That's a different value proposition, but I like to think our customers are still getting a pretty good value for the dollar expended."

The rate increases---from an average utility bill, including water, sewer, drainage, and solid waste, of $127 in 2010 to an average of $148 in 2012---will pay for capital improvements to SPU facilities (such as capping reservoirs), as well as the fact that demand for water has decreased.
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