SAWS Lowers Proposed Rate Increase

Jan 17, 2013

Leaders of the San Antonio Water System now have lowered its rate increase projection for customers. Instead of a 9.9 percent jump, the utility is now proposing a 7 percent rise in monthly bills.

City council members have been struggling with the inevitable rising water rates, especially District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules, who agrees that infrastructure needs to be improved and updated.

"We know for a fact that we have a sewer issue and we know that we need to go secure water, so I'm not opposed to that, that's the reality that unfortunately the rate payers are going to have to face,” he said Wednesday.

But he noted the organization needs to make deep cuts before it asks ratepayers to shell out more on their monthly bill.

"There are a lot of internal inefficiencies that SAWS can take out of the system and at the very least mitigate those rate increases,” he said.

Greg Flores with SAWS says several areas had been identified for cost-cutting measures so the proposed rate increase is now 2.9 percent, or about $3.40 on the average residential bill.

Flores said the new numbers are as simple as timing.

"Because the timeline for our rate request got moved into the beginning of the following year, we actually had the benefit of being able to look at actual data for the entire year of 2012 and that gave us some better data that we were able to use in our projection," he said.

The full city council will vote on the rate increase Feb. 7. If approved, rates would go up March 1.