NYC Water Board Approves 7% Rate Hike Effective July 1
On May 4, the New York City Water Board approved a 7 percent rate increase in water rates that it had earlier proposed, in addition to raising fees for certain services. The increase, while the smallest in seven years, is the city's 16th annual hike for metered and unmetered water rates. The new rates for commercial and residential properties go into effect on July 1.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for proposing water rates, while the Water Board is responsible for establishing the rate following the proposal and subsequent public hearings. “The 7 percent rate increase proposed for Fiscal Year 2013 is a 25 percent reduction from the 9.3 percent rate increase projected at this time last year,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said in a statement.
Perhaps more important for many owners, the Water Board also approved the elimination of frontage billing, which will be replaced with a flat-rate charge of $894.15 per unit per year under the Multi-family Conservation Program (MCP). Frontage billing is a practice that charges a fixed amount for water, regardless of actual usage. Frontage rates depend on the width of the building and numerous other factors. As a result of the change, some properties currently billed on frontage will see a savings under the new flat rate, but other properties may see a jump in their bills greater than 7 percent.
Effective July 1, all frontage-billed properties will automatically be enrolled in MCP, but will have until June 30, 2015, to meet all the requirements of that program. The program's objective is to promote water conservation in multiple-family housing, while giving customers control over their water and wastewater costs.
The MCP requires that DEP-approved meters and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) devices be installed and accurately registering consumption for the entire property. Buildings that have been automatically enrolled as a result of the Water Board's decision will be granted a grace period to install DEP-approved meters and/or AMR devices until the earlier of 45 days after receiving a notice to meter from DEP or an authorized DEP contractor, or Jan. 1, 2014.
The MCP also requires that 70 percent of each type of the building's fixtures such as toilets, showerheads, and faucets be high-efficiency. Owners of buildings that have been automatically enrolled in the MCP have until June 30, 2015, to comply with the high-efficiency fixture requirements. Buildings that fail to meet all of the high-efficiency fixture requirements by June 30, 2015, will be automatically converted to meter-based billing or, if applicable, Attributed Consumption Charges as of July 1, 2015.
For more information on rates and MCP requirements, click on “FY2013 Rate Schedule” under “Rates & Regulations” at www.nyc.gov/html/nycwaterboard.