The Macon Water Authority

790 Second Street • Macon, GA 31202-0108 • (478) 464-5600

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The Value of Macon Water Evident in Rates

Dec 19, 2011 by Dr. Chris Wood

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MWA Customer Service Agent Beth LeBlanc (left) assists an Authority customer in making a payment. Photo by Lisa Vaughn.

The Macon Water Authority (MWA) Board of Directors, following extensive financial analysis, has passed a resolution to adopt new water and sewer rates and related fees for the 2012 calendar year.

The new MWA rates/fee schedule will feature a small percentage increase to customer water and sewer variable rates or consumption charges. Variable rates for water and sewer will increase by 10 cents in 2012. MWA customers will pay no more than $1.82 per CCF for water and $1.96 per CCF for sewer – the top tier of rates for the highest level of monthly consumption for both. (One unit or CCF is equal to 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons.)

The value of MWA drinking water, even in light of the current rate increases, is undeniable, especially when considering the enormous cost of maintaining the integrity of the Authority’s water and sewer infrastructure, says Tony Rojas, Executive Director of the MWA.

Most residential customers also will see a slight increase to the base fee for sewer services in 2012, though there will be no increase to the base fee for water. The one-time monthly base fee for sewer services will increase by $1.25. However, this $1.25 sewer base fee increase only applies to 5/8" and 1-inch service sizes, which are typical for residential (metered) customers.

For more specific details on variable rates/consumption charges and base fees for MWA water and sewer services, customers can check out the Rates, Fees, and Charges page on this Web site (www.maconwater.org).

A noticeable benefit to residential customers in the 2012 rate structure is the cap the MWA Board has placed on their sewer consumption charges. Residential sewer customers without an irrigation meter will pay variable rates based on 80 percent of their water consumption, though sewer consumption charges will be capped at 30 CCF.

Those MWA residential customers with an irrigation meter will pay NO sewer consumption charges for water use metered through their irrigation meter and will pay for sewer consumption on only 95 percent of the water registered through their residential water meter each month.

“Due to long-term planning by the Board for the renewal and replacement of assets, the Authority is able to reinvest revenues from small, incremental rate increases into water and sewer system upgrades and improvements, without having to impose large rate hikes in order to do so,” adds Rojas. “As a result, any necessary rate increases are intended to be less burdensome on our customers.”

Even with the rate increases adopted by the MWA for 2012, the Authority’s water and sewer rates are among the lowest and most competitive in the state, and the MWA is one of the few utilities that discount sewer services at less than 100 percent of meter readings and place a cap on consumption charges, according to a rate comparison study conducted annually by the Environmental Finance Center on behalf of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).

When comparing the value of North America’s Best Tasting Drinking Water (as awarded in 2009 by the American Water Works Association) produced by the MWA to the cost of bottled water, the figures are shockingly disproportionate. The cost of 748 gallons of MWA water – which is the equivalent of 5,665 bottles of (16.9 ounce) water – is $1.72. By comparison, the average retail price ($1.25) of 748 gallons of bottled water is $7,081.

Media contact:
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
P: 770-757-1681
E: jcwood@uga.edu

Tagged: mwa 2012 rates, value of mwa drinking water, mwa rate changes

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