We want you to have all the related information in one place to understand Texas Water Utilities’ recent rate filing for the System Improvement Charge Application. This article will explain the questions you may have and the resources available to you. It is important to us that you have what you need to make informed decisions for your household. We want you Water Empowered!
System Improvement Charge Explained
What is a System Improvement Charge and when does it go into effect?
A system improvement charge allows regulated water and wastewater utilities like ours to recover the cost of infrastructure investments. Between January 1, 2020, and September 30, 2022, we invested approximately $37.4 million in system upgrades across the state to support the provision of safe and clean drinking water as well as proper treatment and disposal of wastewater.
The proposed system improvement charge is a flat rate that will be added to your monthly bill once approved by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The charge will not be implemented until thoroughly reviewed and approved by the PUC.
How is this different from the recent rate increase?
The upgrades accounted for in this rate include the installation of emergency generators, construction of new and replacement wells, replacement of aging water lines, replacement of aging storage tanks and other treatment plant equipment, and other miscellaneous projects, some of which were specifically in response to Winter Storm Uri.
Our monthly usage and base rates account for our operating costs and past years’ projects. For more information, please see the video below.
Timeline of Rate Changes
- On July 15, 2020, Texas Water Utilities filed a rate application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to recover $35.1 million in infrastructure investments made from 2016-2019. A notice was sent to customers shortly thereafter. By law, the proposed rates would go into effect on September 18, 2020; however, a settlement was reached that allowed the PUC more time to review the application through the use of interim rates.
- On October 14, 2020, the PUC approved two phases of interim rates. The first phase of interim rates was applied retroactively beginning September 18, 2020, and did not change the then-current rates.
- On February 2, 2021, the second phase of interim rates went into effect and changed the current rates to those initially proposed in Texas Water Utilities’ application.
- On February 23, 2022, the PUC completed the rate review and approved final rates for customers.
- On April 18, 2022, meter reads that happen on or after this date will be calculated with the new rates.
- On November 18, 2022, Texas Water Utilities filed a system improvement charge application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to recover the cost of infrastructure investments made from January 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022, totaling $37.4 million.
We know this is a lot to understand and we want to provide you with the facts so you may be well-informed about the bill you receive each month. Below are other resources you may need at this time.
We understand times our tough right now. Customer Care has resources available to aid in moments where you need to pay your bill later than usual or if you need a payment arrangement.
If you need assistance with making monthly payments, visit our Water Assist webpage and read through our payment assistance program to see if you qualify for monthly aid.
Other Costs Rates Go Toward
Your rates also go into many things that keep the water flowing. Watch this video to learn more.
Are you experiencing water quality issues?
We strive to provide consistent water quality, and we want to know the moment your quality changes. Please email TXCustomerCare@swwc.com or call us at 866-654-7992 with details on the water quality issues you are experiencing.
Here are some other articles you might find helpful.
Texas 2021 Infrastructure Report