Expanded version of the article printed in the Pittsburgh newsweekly Pulp Volume 01 Number 04 11 April 2002
|I've been thinking.. about
how we're billed for water and its use
Whether we want to conserve water because it is the environmentally
beneficial thing to do,
If you're served by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (P.W.S.A.), you probably know that the cost of water/use just increased, and will increase again in 2003. For a residence, we are now billed $9.32 for the first 1000 gallons, and buried in this charge is what some other water suppliers bill separately as a basic service or connection charge.
We are billed $4.34 per additional 1000 gallons (increasing to $4.64
per additional 1000 gal. in 2003).
Note that we are billed per 1000 gallons, NOT per fraction of 1000 gallons.
Further, we as a residential customers, pay more per additional 1000 gallons of water than Commercial and Industrial customers; curiously, the highest rates are charged to "Health and Educational Facilities".
Is this bass-ackwards or what?
In fact, where in this whole water-billing schema is the real incentive for anyone to -conserve- water?
Personally, I began noticing my water bill after the P.W.S.A. installed the new meter reading system upgrade on all water meters in 2000. The new automatic-sending units eliminate every-other-month "Estimated" billing. At that time I decided to try to be more conscientious of my household water use.
Just recently I noticed that although I certainly used water, the bill indicated -0- use, and had the same charge as last time (with the added increase + the pro-rated amount (also for some water I didn't use)). This is when I really learned they only bill by the 1000-gallon quantity, whether a full 1000 gal. is used or not.
Enough is enough, isn't it? I have no objection to paying my own way,
but I'm not happy paying for sewer-use, water-treatment, and water I have
not used. Considering the number of customers, the 1000-gallon base measure,
the inter-dependence between sewer-use [P.W.S.A.] and treatment [ALCOSAN]
charges, how much money is being collected for water never used by residential
customers -or for that matter by all P.W.S.A. and ALSOSAN customers?
Conservation aside, although we in the City may have an apparent abundance of water because of the river source, each customer still has to pay for the water used, the sewer-use, -and the treatment by ALCOSAN.
Is it too much to expect that increased automation of the reading and billing processes should provide for everyone to be billed much more closely to their actual quantity used and thereafter treated? - and that those who chose to conserve natural resources and /or their financial resources, as well, should not be penalized for trying to do so?
The Public Utilities commission (P.U.C.) has no jurisdiction over municipal
(c) 2002 --paul j. sentner-- Iíve been thinking
about water billing :1-13 April 2002
E-mail/Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org The URL of this page is: http://www.city-net.com/~psentner/h2o_bill 20 April 2002