OT? Water / sewer hidden costs
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  1. #1
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    Default OT? Water / sewer hidden costs

    I had always thought our water / sewer bill from the city was high, we had the meter checked a year after we built the building and it checked out fine. I was told , that's the rate for your usage, seemed high, but thought that was the cost of doing business in the city limits. Assumed industrial rate was higher, so just paid the bills.
    22 years later, the city has a new look to the water / sewer bill. It now has 4 different charges instead of 2.Used to be Water charge and sewer charge. Now it's water usage, water availability, sewer usage, sewer availability. I called the city and asked what is an availability charge? They say , because you have a 1 1/2 inch meter, we have to reserve a certain amount of water and sewer to your building and they charge for it. I asked if we ever had used that much, they said no, but it doesn't matter , we have that size meter. They charge for the water and sewer you "could" use. I asked if we could get a smaller meter, they said we need a water audit (by a licensed plumbing company) then pay a $100. service charge to the city to put a new meter in.
    I'm now saving $140.00 per month that I should have done 22 years ago. The original contractor never asked how much water we would use, no idea how he sized the original water meter. Never knew it worked that way. It cost me almost $40k before I figured it out.

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    Wow!

    Should have invested in one of those toilets that flushes up. No need for a sewer pipe

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    Slightly different situation here, but TVWD/CWS (combined water/sewerage agencies locally) have both usage-based charges and fixed charges for both water and sewer. My usage-based charges are about 10% of my bill. The rest I've got to pay even if I use no water at all for two months.

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    Something I discovered many years ago was that water meters are normally leased to municipalities. That way taxpayers are on the hook for decades paying for something that rarely fails. I am on a very small water district that is independent from the city and the board members opted to have us pay up front for our water meters. In the long run it was cheaper. These conspiracies to add on fees never end. All the time the politician proudly declares that he is holding the line on taxes.

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    I wouldn't mind paying if they stopped giving breaks to big business when they move in. The savings goes to those who don't need it and the cost to those who don't have the political power to not pay it.

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    If it makes you feel any better, they annexed me into the village years ago. I was in line to get cell towers on the back property. As soon as they realized I was in the village they went to the guy next door that is in the county. The business on the other side of him was also forcibly annexed into the village. If I had sewer and water, I'd have a monthly bill. It's not available to me, so if I wanted it I'd have to foot the bill including any recap fees. Because I'm in the village, sewer and water shows up on my property tax bill despite not having access to it.

    My mom had a townhouse that I bought from her when she got married and moved. The bill was 20-30 a month when she was there. The 2 girls that rent from me now, their bill is 120 a month. Village states sewer and water per 1000 gallons is 15.40 residential. Commercial is 15.72 and industrial is 15.94. Average person uses 100 gallons a day. We just got hooked into Lake Michigan water, but that's not online yet. When it does, were looking at a rate increase. Maybe they'll figure it out and quit taking baths. Not my problem. Nothing is running. I've checked... multiple times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    I wouldn't mind paying if they stopped giving breaks to big business when they move in. The savings goes to those who don't need it and the cost to those who don't have the political power to not pay it.
    Like New York giving the richest guy in the world billions? If a company needs subsidies to succeed in an area, they shouldn't be in that area in the first place. Or the locality needs a change to make them more business friendly. There was an unoccupied building in my town for years. The village decided to give tractor supply a sales tax break in order to get the building occupied so it's not an "eyesore". Meanwhile there's 3-4 other businesses in town that compete against tractor supply that don't get that same break. Village refunds 50% of their take on the sales tax for 20 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfriedberg View Post
    Slightly different situation here, but TVWD/CWS (combined water/sewerage agencies locally) have both usage-based charges and fixed charges for both water and sewer. My usage-based charges are about 10% of my bill. The rest I've got to pay even if I use no water at all for two months.
    Wow we most live close by. I am in Beaverton and have never understood how they come up with the water sewer bills. They make no sense
    to me!!

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    Lookup "dark store theory". Big box stores fight hard not to pay property tax.

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    If you have fire sprinklers you need that bigger service so they can all run at once. California is now allowing home fire sprinklers on residential meters. Theory is only one or to need to go off before everyone is out and safe. The house may be lost but the people will be saved. In a city the fire department should be there before the second sprinkler opens up anyway. This assumes there is an automatic system to call 911 if the sprinklers start flowing.

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    In my area, there is a monthly charge to be connected to the utilities, and then a metered charge based on the amount of water used. The base charge is dependent on the size of the water meter. Sounds similar to yours. Too bad not to know that going in. I feel your pain.

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    Sort of unrelated (maybe?) but when I lived in SC, we had a gas charge year round, just for having gas to the house (mostly electric in the south). Sucked to pay $20+ month for gas that we used maybe a few times a year.

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    Bill D your sprinklers run off your meter? My metered water is a one inch pipe, my sprinklers are a six inch pipe. I'd hate to see what the demand charge for a 6" pipe would look like!

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    Comatose, are you talking about a field irrigation system? Because up to this point, "sprinklers" has meant a fire suppression system, and nobody runs a 6" supply pipe to a household.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Bill D your sprinklers run off your meter? My metered water is a one inch pipe, my sprinklers are a six inch pipe. I'd hate to see what the demand charge for a 6" pipe would look like!
    Here in Jersey, we have a 12,000 Sf building.
    We pay a standing water charge of $600 per quarter for the sprinkler to be hooked up.
    Very aggravating.

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    There is definitely some sprinkler mafia stuff going on. Expensive to install, you are not in control of setup, overbuilt unless you are a oil depot, expensive to maintain, expensive to keep water on.

    I mean, what is the ongoing cost to the city of the sprinkler sized pipe?

    In my former shop, the garage door installers winched up the sprinkler pipe[unbeknownst to anyone] to clear the door. Fast forward to one fine spring day 3 years later, I open the door and it cleans the sprinkler head right off. Luckily the sprinkler valve was in the corner of my shop and not locked out.

    I is amazin how much water a two story sprinkler system holds.....

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    We have a summer camp that is used 4 months a year. We are not connected to the water district, but are billed $342/year anyway. The electricity is turned off in the off season, but there's still a $15.11 monthly charge. At least that bill is comprehensible. Delivery charge, usage charge.

    The home electric bill has:

    Customer charge
    Delivery charge
    Partial month transition charge-previous month
    Partial month transition charge-current month
    Revenue decoupling mech
    Reliability support services chg
    SBC charge
    Variable supply charge
    Merchant function charge-previous month
    Merchant function charge-current month
    Taxes on delivery charge.

    The electricity is only about $.047/kwh, but the other charges are $0.142/kwh on my last bill. The gas bill has 12 separate line items.

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    Default OT? Water / sewer hidden costs

    Government-owned/controlled utilities like water and sewer companies are just ridiculous — so typical of government largesse and waste. They all have the latest and newest equipment, they have huge stockpiles of pipe and supplies laying around, they always have two guys in any vehicle setting in the drive-through at McDonalds, and they always have a full crew standing around a job site — most of which are doing just that, standing around.

    I’ve been at the current shop for 18 years, and have paid $67 per month for water and sewer each and every month. Even though we’ve never exceeded the minimum 1,000 gallons charge on the bill...which for a residence with water and sewer service is about $25 per month. Why so much difference??

    And this was after paying $5K to have the water meter installed — which took all of four hours.

    The shop is in an industrial park, so I had no choice but to hook up to the county water and sewer.

    Around here, $5K could have drilled a well and installed a septic system. The $800 per year I’ve been paying for water and sewer could have went into a nice little retirement fund....geeez.

    ToolCat

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  27. #19
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    Sfriedberg, I'm talking about my shop. It's 36,000 square feet and yes the supply line for the sprinklers is 6". Doesn't cost every month to be connected. I assume they'll charge me out the wazoo if it ever gets used, but that'll be the least of my worries that day.

    My point was it isn't a given that if the OP downsizes his meter it'd affect any sprinklers he might have. Could be a totally separate system.

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    Thank you, Comatose, that makes it clear. Was not thinking about warehouse-sized systems. My bad.


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