PSB approves FY 2019-20 budget, rates and fees

PSB approves FY 2019-20 budget, rates and fees
Posted on 01/09/2019
The public service board approves FY 2019-20 budget, rates and fees.

The Public Service Board (PSB) approved a $436.1 million El Paso Water budget today for water, wastewater and stormwater systems for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The PSB kept stormwater rates flat while approving an increase of 4 percent for water service and 8 percent for wastewater service. Together, the rate changes translate into a $3 per month increase for a typical homeowner.

Nearly half of this year’s capital improvement budget for water and wastewater will be dedicated to addressing aging infrastructure. The utility will also prioritize new water and wastewater infrastructure to support city growth and water supply projects to meet future demand.

“Along with many other utilities across the country, rehabilitating our older facilities is a priority,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “Major upgrades at three of our wastewater facilities will improve performance, reliability, efficiency and odor control.”

The $48.4 million stormwater budget allows for ongoing maintenance of the existing system and continued progress on major flood control projects already underway. Several projects currently in design or construction were funded in the 2018-19 fiscal year with work continuing into the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Affordability

Even with this year’s rate increases, El Paso’s monthly water charges are the second lowest of other large Texas cities. Only Laredo’s water rates are lower, while water rates are higher in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

Conservation remains a tool for reducing water bills for residential and business customers. The rate structure is designed to provide relief for low water users while charging a premium for high water users. Customers using less than 4 ccfs* (2,992 gallons) of water in any given month will receive a waiver of the Water Supply Replacement Charge. Last year, this charge of about $10 was waived on an average of 33,000 monthly customer bills, saving customers approximately $3.9 million.

Just this year, EPWater also launched AguaCares, an affordability program in partnership with the non-profit Amistad to help elderly, low-income customers who are at risk of disconnection.

The approved budgets, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2019.

For more information about aguacares, click here

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