Saturday, November 06, 2010

New Tiered water pricing in Raleigh

You may have noticed that there has been a change to the web presence and billing cycle of the Raleigh water utilities. As I perused the site today, I discovered the introduction of a new pricing plan for Raleigh residents. From this page:

Beginning in November, Raleigh and Garner residential customers will be billed using a new, tiered billing structure with new rates. Only single-meter residences are changing to tiered billing. Apartments with master meters are not changing to tiered rates.

There are 3 tiers based on consumption. Each tier is billed at a different rate. Those who use less water will pay less.

INSIDE Raleigh and Garner city limits
Residential Water Rates

  • Tier 1 = 1-4 CCF billed at $2.28
  • Tier 2= 5-10 CCF billed at $3.80
  • Tier 3= 11+ CCF billed at $5.07

In response, I have written this letter to be sent to


I am frustrated to read that you are implementing a tiered rate program on your water usage fees. In general, when I think of bulk consumption, pricing usually goes down per unit sold. In this case, you are charging more per unit sold.

I understand the motivation behind this kind of structure. The ultimate goal is that of conservation. However, for those of us with several people living in a household, there will never be anything we can do apart from taking a two week vacation that will reduce our consumption to the 1-4 CCF per month range.

Not only are we in essence being punished for having more people in our household, we're being charged a higher rate per CCF than we previously were. (It appears that my rate was $2.65/CCF)

I find this analogous to driving to the gas station to fill up with fuel and finding out that my charge per gallon varies dependent upon the size of my gas tank. By extension, since the size of the gas tanks are generally proportioned to the size of the vehicle, it would be like charging gas at a variable per gallon rate based on how many people were in the car.

Can you please explain how this approach is a fair way to charge for a utility we all depend on? If you feel there are abusers of the resources available to us, then charge them for their usage, but don't make the rest of us bear the burden of those who (in your opinion) overuse their share of water.