Madison (WKOW) -- from WI Public Service Commission: The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) approved new water rates Wednesday, intended to encourage water efficiency for the City of Fitchburg's Water Utility while recovering the utility's cost of providing service.
The new rates reflect an overall 12 percent increase and are designed to discourage wasteful water use and mitigate a rate increase to customers using water more efficiently.
The utility requested inclining block rates to manage residential demand and to reduce peak usage associated with summertime lawn watering.
Under the new rates, residential customers will pay a higher per-volume rate as their usage increases.
In addition, the utility requested that the PSC approve a special rate for those customers who have a second meter dedicated to outdoor water use.
While these customers will continue to avoid sewer charges on water used for landscaping, they will be charged a rate that reflects the actual costs of providing water for this purpose during periods of peak demand in the summer.
"I commend Fitchburg's Water Utility for demonstrating leadership in water conservation and efficiency," said PSC Chairperson Eric Callisto. "The rates will help the utility address its concerns with meeting peak summer demand while helping to protect valuable groundwater resources that many other communities in Dane County rely on for their water supply."
The effect on an individual customer's bill will depend on their actual water use.
Under the new rates the average residential customer can expect a 2 percent increase, but high volume users can expect larger increases.
Customers who use less than 8,000 gallons per quarter will pay $1.53 per 1,000 gallons, while those who use more will pay as much as $2.79 per 1,000 gallons for usage over 50,000 gallons per quarter.
With the decision, the City of Fitchburg joins a growing list of Wisconsin communities that have implemented water conservation and efficiency programs.
Reducing water usage is a priority for the State of Wisconsin because it saves energy, lowers operations and capital costs, and protects valuable water resources.