Los Alamos DPU’s Seasonal Tiered Water Rate Hearing Set For Wednesday


A seasonal, tiered water consumption charge for residential customers will go to the Board of Public Utilities for hearing and public comment this Wednesday.

The proposed Ordinance 02-242 would implement the tiered consumption charge for residential customers between May and October of each year; the peak season for water usage. 

If approved by the Board, then adopted by Council, the new water rate would also increase monthly service fees for most retail customer classes, as well as increase the bulk water consumption charge and bulk water service fees for wholesale customer classes comprising the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Water Distribution Division and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Ordinance 02-242 will result in a 6 percent revenue increase, but will affect individual customers differently according to meter size, consumption level and season.

According to DPU officials water consumption in Los Alamos more than doubles each year during the peak water usage season of May – October, with the majority of the increased use attributable to outdoor watering. The increased demand drives additional costs for pumping and delivering water and puts additional wear and tear on infrastructure, accelerating the need for replacement. Based on DPU’s historical water consumption data, 21.4 percent of residential customers use 55.79 percent of the total residential water consumed during the peak watering season.  

The proposed ordinance more accurately aligns consumption and service charges with the true costs of providing water. It will allocate the additional costs associated with higher consumption to the peak water users instead of socializing those costs among all water users. 

“We welcome citizen comments about the proposed water rate restructure so that the Board may consider diverse points of view,” said Deputy Utility Manager for Finance and Administration Robert Westervelt.

Citizens may post comments at http://www.peakdemocracy.com/1894 where further rate details and analyses are also posted. For more detail, visit the Proposed Ordinance No. 02-242 at http://www.losalamosnm.us/utilities/Pages/Ordinances.aspx, or at http://www.peakdemo-cracy.com/1894, or at the 311 Customer Care Center, or at either the White Rock or Mesa Public Libraries.

All public comments are provided to Board Members prior to the May 21 meeting. As always, the public is invited to attend the hearing and share their comments. The Board of Public Utilities meets at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building at 1000 Central Ave.

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) operates the county-owned electric, gas, water and wastewater systems under the jurisdiction of the Board of Public Utilities. The Board meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at 1000 Central Ave. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.


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