Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Toledo water bill sticker shock

Because I follow the news and because you read my blog, you know that in March, our water and sewer bills went up.

It was advertised as being 'necessary' to handle the infrastructure needs as well as the daily operational costs of the water department - along with a consent decree that was the result of a lawsuit with the EPA.

It was 'only'... they said.

Well, the result was a 71% increase in my water bill this quarter over last.

Yes, you read that correctly - 71%!

You can imagine my surprise when I opened my envelope to find that I owe $225.84 to City of Toledo, compared to the $127.46 that I owed in January. My first thought was that I had a water leak somewhere. But in looking at my usage, I found I was charged for only 2 more CCFs this quarter - so a water leak was not the issue.

There was a nice little note at the bottom of the bill (conveniently titled ***** For Your Information *****) explaining that, as of March 18, 2011, the water rates went up 9%, the sewer volume rates went up 3% and the sewer fixed rate went up 3% PLUS a sewer fixed increase to fund the EPA lawsuit consent decree. But should that result in $100 more???

I deducted the cost of the two extra CCF units in order to compare my bill and know for sure. And yep - my bill, minus those two units would have been $218.26 which is 71% more than the $127.46 than I owed in January. I did try to call the DPU, but, surprisingly, their recording said they were experiencing "extremely high call volume" and I was 30th in line.

There are just three of us in the house - can you imagine what a larger family, or one with small kids who do lots of laundry, will have to pay? Fortunately, we have the financial wherewithal to handle this with some adjustments elsewhere - but many families in Toledo don't. And even though our financial adjustments will be unwelcome and inconvenient - for others, it will be a major sacrifice.

So much for the 'it's only' ....

Thanks Toledo City Council - let's see how many more people leave because your decisions.


James said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Maggie. I haven't received my bill yet. I have a feeling the first go-round on water rates by Council would have resulted in a smaller hike in the rates. But that's the one Lindsay Webb refused to vote on by leaving the room when it was her turn to vote, wasn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong.

The Real Steve Yarbrough said...

My bill was only .44 higher. FWIW.

Energy Guy said...

Maybe the water rate increase has something to do with the $52 Million dollar Methane to energy power plant that doesn't run.

Energy Guy said...

Maybe the water/sewer rates went up because of the $52 million dollar "Methane to Energy" Power Plant built at the Toledo waste water treatment plant. $32 million was approved by council, $20 million was taken from the "Emergency Fund". (Project original cost $18 million) Since the plant is totally non-functional. The water rate payers must pick up the constructin costs.

BuzzLOL said...

.. Sounds like they did the well known scheme to cheat you on your water bill: I was expecting a $110-150 water bill for 4th quarter 2010, got a $550 bill instead because water dept. decided to re-calculate past paid and correct bills to make them as high as possible by removing the winter averaging, etc... still battling them in courts here in June 2013... others can contact me if they feel cheated as well: BuzzLOL1@yahoo.com

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