My family recently moved to the Borough of Atlantic Highlands. One of the first bills I received was for water service. Out of curiosity I studied the rate schedule for water and sewer and discovered they are regressive and inequitable.

Certain facts were compiled during my observations that demonstrate my point:

● The most economical water ($/gal) is provided to a unit (meter) that consumes 25,400 gallons.
● The highest cost for all consumption above 25,400 gallons is only 1.2 times the 25,400 gallon rate.
● A unit consuming 8,978 gallons pays 2 times the 25,400 gallon rate.
● A unit consuming 5,237 gallons pays 3 times the 25,400 gallon rate.
● A unit consuming 3,741 gallons pays 4 times the 25,400 gallon rate.
● A unit consuming 14,962 gallons is eligible for 11,220 gallons of free additional sewage.
● A unit consuming 7,482 gallons is eligible for 7,479 gallons of free additional sewage.
● A unit consuming 3,741 gallons is eligible for 3,740 gallons of free additional sewage.

Obviously these rates are inequitable because people that use less water pay a much higher rate for their water and sewer. Furthermore, there seems very little incentive to save water and minimize wastewater under this billing schedule. A savings of 1,000 gallons per household would result in about 2 million gallons less wastewater into the ocean from Atlantic Highlands alone.

I recommended a rate schedule modeled after the other utilities. The closest analogy would be the natural gas service in that they have pipes, meters and other similar infrastructure to water/sewer service. These services are billed strictly on a unit volume consumption and the cost per unit volume includes all service related costs. These utilities directly reward conservation and still fully fund their costs (and profits as well). In practice, this would reward those willing to conserve yet allow those that do not to continue their usage but at an equitable cost.

 

Dave Brackett
Atlantic Highlands, NJ