New Braunfels Utilities and City Council have undertaken the first steps toward approval of a proposed utility rate hike designed, among other goals, to mitigate the cost of dozens of area projects.
Council's initial approval comes as a result of NBU's proposal of a three-year rate increase to defray the cost of 122 capital improvement projects underway or in design.
NBU CEO Ian Taylor and Chief Financial Officer Dawn Schriewer appeared before City Council on Oct. 12 to present the rate increase plan, which would go into effect Nov. 1 if it is approved after a second reading Oct. 26.
The plan proposes increasing water rates, wastewater rates and electricity rates each year through fiscal year 2022-23.
Water rates would increase by 7% in FY 2020-21, by 8% in FY 2021-22 and by 8% in FY 2022-23, according to information from NBU, and wastewater rates would increase by 16.5% in FY 2020-21, by 13% in FY 2021-22 and by 13% in FY 2022-23.
Electricity rates for delivery and customer charges would increase by 5% in FY 2021-22 and by 10% in FY 2022-23. Customers can expect overall 1.3% and 2.6% increases in their electric bills for FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23, respectively.
In early October, Taylor said the rate increases would help NBU comply with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requirements and construct pipelines and other infrastructure to continue providing safe and reliable water to the community.
Information from NBU states over the next five years, the utility company plans to invest $587 million into over 70 capital improvement projects, including expanding wastewater treatment plants, installing new water storage tanks and repairing aging electric infrastructure.
In addition to increased rates, the water supply fee charged by 1,000 gallons of usage will increase by $1.05 in FY 2020-21, by $2.49 in FY 2021-22 and by $2.79 in FY 2022-23. In an effort to mitigate costs for customers, those who use 7,500 gallons or less of water each month will not have to pay a water supply fee, Taylor said.
The next reading of the ordinance revision will be Oct. 26, and if approved, the effective date of the FY 2020-21 rates would be Nov. 1.
Information from NBU states in March 2021 the company will deploy a communication plan with targeted customer interaction for utility bill management tools.
The effective rates for FY 2021-22 will kick in Aug. 1, 2021, and for FY 2022-23 that date will be Aug. 1, 2022, according to NBU.
Lauren Canterberry contributed to this report.
New Braunfels officials hold first public hearing on proposal to raise utility rates
New Braunfels Utilities and New Braunfels City Council underwent the first reading of an ordinance to raise utility rates during the Oct. 12 council meeting. (Screen shot courtesy city of New Braunfels)