Utilities provides water, wastewater (sewer), drainage and solid waste (garbage, recycling and green waste) services to residents and business in the City of Sacramento.
Utilities established Your Utilities. Your Voice. to engage the community, educate the public and increase awareness of the complexities and challenges facing the Utilities department. Typically, most Sacramentans give little thought to water, sewer and garbage and are satisfied with services provided. Community engagement is critical as Utilities begins to plan for future rates and future programs and services. After all, Utilities belongs to its customers. The goal is to communicate regularly with customers and stakeholders, create two-way dialogue and gain feedback to help in the challenging times ahead.
Utilities reached out to numerous residents, community organizations and business groups to solicit feedback on a set of guiding principles and utility services. More than 1,100 members of the Sacramento community participated in either an online, paper, or telephone survey. The findings of the survey have been analyzed and compiled into a report to be used in the rate adjustment process and in setting future policy. Overall, residential and business customers rated utility services relatively high.
Utilities identified two goals for community engagement:
To request a copy of the entire report, please email email@example.comYour Voice page.
The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities faces state and federal regulatory requirements; rising energy, chemical and materials costs; and a continued need to replace or repair aging infrastructure such as pipes, facilities and equipment. Current rates and other funding sources will not meet the needs identified by Utilities analysts and confirmed by FCS Group, an outside consulting firm specializing in utility rate-setting analysis.
Utilities did not increase rates for the 2011/2012 fiscal year. Utilities saved money through improved efficiency and cost cutting. Many needed infrastructure projects were put on hold. Now, Utilities seeks a multi-year rate adjustment to fund a systematic program to repair and replace extremely old infrastructure. Top
As a result of increased costs and the need for capital improvements, Utilities recommended 3-year rate increase to the City Council of 10% for water and for wastewater 16% (first year), 15% (second year) and 14% (third year). Rate increases would go into effect on July 1 each year. There is no proposal to increase solid waste or storm drainage rates at this time. The proposed water and wastewater rate increase would result in an overall increase in the City utility bill for the average single family residential customer of approximately six percent a year for the next three years. A final rate proposal will be brought to the City Council for consideration in early 2012, following a recommendation by the Utilities Rate Advisory Commission (URAC), consistent with the Proposition 218 notification and public hearing process.
To view the proposed rate schedule for water, click here.
To view the proposed rate schedule for wastewater, click here.
Read the proposed 3-year rate increase fact sheet.
Residential customers, click here.
Business customers, click here.Top Top Top Top
Utilities' financial plan does address needs of the solid waste and storm drainage programs but are not part of the current rate adjustment under review. Consistent with recommendations from the most recent audits, the Solid Waste Division is developing a business plan to guide future operations. Once the business plan is complete, recommendations for solid waste services and operations will be brought to the City Council for consideration.
Regarding storm drainage, under Proposition 218, rate adjustments for this service require voter approval. Utilities is in the process of developing a Storm Drainage Program, similar to that of water and wastewater. If the financing plan recommends a rate adjustment, it would be put before voters. As part of this process, Utilities retained a consultant to conduct a storm drainage rate study and make recommendations. Utilities will present the consultant's findings and recommendations to the City Council for its consideration at a future date.
The final component of the financial plan addresses impact fees paid by developers when development projects impact Utilities' services. Impact fees cover Utilities costs for providing services for new development and those fees need to reflect current costs. At a future date, Utilities will present an impact fee adjustment proposal to the City Council. Top
*Budget in 000sTop Top Top
Investment in this program will allow Utilities to:
Failure to implement this program could cause:
At current rates of infrastructure investment, the city will replace its entire water system every 400 years and its wastewater system every 650 years. Water and wastewater systems should be replaced every 70-100 years to keep them in proper working condition and reliably deliver service, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and American Society of Civil Engineers' utility industry best practices. It is clear that City of Sacramento Utilities fall far below recommended industry best practice levels.
Much of the Utilities infrastructure (treatment plants, pipes and systems) are under regulatory control and must follow permit requirements. The City must keep up and maintain its infrastructure to remain in state and federal compliance. If not, the results are devastating and may lead to fines, lawsuits and control of its systems by the state or federal authorities.
Other cities have faced lawsuits and sanctions resulting in costly settlements and fines ranging from thousands to millions of dollars and these are passed on to ratepayers. Failing infrastructure impedes development. Access to quality water and sewer services are core issues when businesses, employees and families consider relocation. TopTop
Yes. The 2010 Citywide Financial and Operational Review, conducted by Management Partners, Inc., and the 2011 Sacramento Department of Utilities Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings Audit each said current investment in water and wastewater infrastructure systems and maintenance is insufficient.
The Management Partners review stated: "The City of Sacramento's utility funds are in a weak financial position. Unless actions are taken to bolster the financial condition of the utilities, there is a real threat they will begin to require General Fund subsidies for operations and be unable to fund the infrastructure maintenance necessary for continued reliable service." Top