PSB holds hearing on FY2018 Water/Wastewater Budget and Rates
Proposed $490 million budget will focus on water supply, city growth and customer service
Contact: Josh Moniz
915-594-5510 (office), 915-319-3284 (cell) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: November 13, 2017
EL PASO – In the second of two budget workshops, El Paso Water staff presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2018-19 water and wastewater budget to the Public Service Board (PSB) on Monday evening. The PSB will consider the $490 million budget and an 8 percent rate increase, which represents an additional $3.98 per month for the typical homeowner.
"As El Paso's population grows, we must continue to develop new water resources and extend infrastructure to the east and west to serve new developments of homes and businesses,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “Our new strategic plan is driving new initiatives to improve customer service, efficiency and reliability.”
Delivering on El Paso’s water future
To secure water sources for the next decade, EPWater will continue design of the Advanced Water Purification Facility and move forward on a multi-year expansion of the desalination plant. To meet longer-term water needs, the utility proposes to purchase additional land and water rights in Hudspeth County as part of its water importation strategy.
EPWater is also expecting a full river allocation in 2018, the first time in 7 years. While increased use of river resources helps preserve our aquifers, it costs more due to raw water purchases and the chemicals and electricity required for water treatment.
Several major construction projects are proposed to help expand service to growth areas, including two large water storage tanks in east El Paso, and 11 miles of needed water and wastewater lines.
Customer service improvements prioritized
Consistent with the utility’s new strategic plan, the utility has prioritized improvements to customer service with a proposed major customer information system upgrade, a variety of new self-help options, and a new contract with an outside firm to help the Customer Service Center handle surges of customer calls.
For customers concerned about rising bills, the utility urges conservation as the best method to save both water and money. Customers who use less than 4 CCFs (2,992 gallons) in a month can have their Water Supply Replacement Charge of $9.83 waived. Currently, about 38,000 customer accounts, or 19 percent of all accounts, have the fee waived in a given month, resulting in water and dollar savings.
Modernization and Efficiency Improvements
Strategic investments are proposed to improve and modernize equipment, technologies and facilities to ensure reliability and resilience. Energy efficiency, process automation and plant process optimization are three major initiatives planned to accomplish these objectives. EPWater will continue replacement of existing aging water and wastewater lines to improve service for customers.
Timeline for Review and Approval
After reviewing the preliminary Water/Wastewater and Stormwater budgets, the PSB will consider and approve final budgets and rate changes at its regular meeting on January 10. All workshops and meetings are held in the Boardroom at El Paso Water’s headquarters, 1154 Hawkins Blvd. The new budget and rates would go into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2018
With oversight by the Public Service Board, El Paso Water provides water, wastewater and stormwater management services to the City of El Paso.