A request has been made many times in presentations to the UAJA Board and to the COG General Forum to form a task force to study the issue of sewer billing; however, nothing has been done. The same outdated and unfair system of billing customers based on EDUs for service is still in use. The goal of this petition is to bring about a billing practice that UAJA could adopt to bill all of its customers for sewer service based on the same billing practice used by State College Borough.
The Municipal Authorities Act, Chapter 56 Section 5607, (d) (9) states that every authority has the power, “…to fix, alter, charge and collect rates and other charges in the area served by its facilities at reasonable and uniform rates to be determined exclusively by it for the purpose of providing for the payment of the expenses of the authority, the construction, improvement, repair, maintenance and operation of its facilities and properties……” The important words in this statement are that rates are to be reasonable and uniform.
Furthermore, if UAJA bills customers based on metered water usage, customers will be incentivized to conserve water. Currently, there is no incentive to conserve water as every household pays the same $104 per quarter or $416 per year for sewer service without regard to how much water is used.
Currently, UAJA bills residential homes outside of State College Borough a flat rate of $104 per quarter for sewer. In the Borough of State College, residential customers are paying a base rate of $28.05 for water throughput up to 3,000 gallons. For every 1,000 gallons above 3,000 gallons, the bill increases by $9.35.
Outside of the Borough, a household with two people that uses 8,000 gallons of water per quarter, pays $104 for sewer. However, a larger family that uses 18,000 gallons of water also pays $104 per quarter. Under our proposal, the family that only uses 8,000 gallons of water will pay $74.80, a savings of $29.20 for the quarter. The family that uses 18,000 gallons of water will have to pay $168.30. However, they will be incentivized to reduce their water use because they have the opportunity for a smaller bill with less water used.
Under the current system of billing, no one has the incentive to use less water because the bill is going to be $104 per quarter regardless of how much water they use or how much sewage is generated. Therefore, volumetric billing (based on water throughput) provides financial incentive to save water and lower the bill.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), “Volumetric sewer pricing is the simple concept of billing a customer for the volume of water discharged to the sewer based on the water meter reading—water the customer actually uses as opposed to a flat charge. The less water a customer uses, the less the bill will be. As a result, wastewater volumetric rates provide important incentives for water efficiency to customers and offer a more fair pricing structure. According to a study by the NRDC, converting flat-rate residential customers to volumetric rates could eventually save…billions of gallons of water per year, a significant benefit to both water suppliers and wastewater treatment agencies.”
Also, per the NRDC, “The water savings resulting from volumetric wastewater pricing will benefit wastewater agencies by reducing operating costs, helping to preserve wastewater treatment capacity, and helping to reduce sewer overflows.” Click here to read the complete NRDC article.
When the conservation of resources is not part of a plan, it is not considered sustainable. Under the EDU billing system customers are not motivated to conserve sewer use...Al Matyasovsky, Sustainable Development Officer, Torron Group, LP
President, Torron Group, LP