After receiving inquiries from citizens of Washington Court House regarding water bills purportedly increasing, the Record-Herald spoke with City Manager Joe Denen.
According to Denen, the rate for water has not increased in several years; however, the rate for waste water increased by 2% in February.
The 2% increase would typically not make a notable difference, Denen said.
What may appear as an increased cost to some, is if water usage was estimated instead of read at the meter in months with worse weather. If estimated low, users would have paid less during that time and would eventually have to “catch up,” paying for what was actually used.
This could make the bills appear as though they have increased when the actual usage is being paid for, Denen said.
As for water rates, essentially there is a scale used to determine the rate paid by a customer. There is the base rate. Then, the more water used, the rate for the water decreases.
According to www.epa.gov, this is known as “Declining Block Rates” in which “the unit price of each succeeding block of usage is charged at a lower unit rate than the previous block(s). This rate structures are popular in rural areas that service large farming populations or areas with large users such as heavy industry and where water is plentiful.”
When asked if citizens could see on their bill if it was estimated or read at the meter, Denen explained the new bills now being sent out — which were changed from a small post card to a regular paper — do not show when the readings are estimated. He stated this would be looked into if necessary to show when bills are estimated.
Those who wish to receive their bills electronically rather than by mail can sign up at www.cityofwch.com/199/Utility-Department. In order to get set up online, the current utility bill is needed for the account number and amount due.
The online option will also allow customers to view their current utility bill, payment history, and usage history.
For questions regarding usage, contact the Utility Department between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 740-636-2344.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.