Utility Rates

Aerial view of Washougal Water Plant

CAPITAL PROJECTS

If you have questions about utility rates as they relate to capital projects in the water, sewer, and stormwater utilities, please call 360-835-8501, ext. 204.

UTILITY RATE STUDY PROCESS

Utility rates originally increased in 2010 due to the results of a Comprehensive Utility Rate Study (PDF). Since the original study, the City has made a concentrated effort to look at the needs of the Utilities to determine how utility rates could be stabilized while continuing to meet financial obligations, comply with legal requirements, maintain level of service, and adhere to industry best practices. As a result of this effort the City was able to approve a rate structure for five years (2019 to 2023).

In the Water portion of the Utility Bill, the base water allowance will continue to decrease by one unit per year from the original 10 units (7,480 gallons bimonthly) in 2014 down to zero units (zero gallons bimonthly) in 2023, allowing residents the control to lower bills by conserving water and only paying for what they use on top of the base charge.

  • 2022: The water base allowance decreases from 2 units (1,496 gallons bimonthly) to 1 unit (748 gallons bimonthly).
  • 2023: The water base allowance decreases from 1 unit (748 gallons bimonthly) to zero units (zero gallons bimonthly).

In the Sewer portion of the Utility Bill, we are continuing to bill sewer based on a flow-based approach which began in 2020. Whereas every single-family residential user used to pay the same rate regardless of the number of occupants; now the structure is a base rate plus consumption (exactly like water). However, unlike water which changes every bill cycle, we will take the winter average water usage to use as your consumption for the following year. Depending on if you receive your bill in an odd numbered month or an even numbered month, the winter average will consist of December/February or January/March average of the 2 bills. For example, if you are billed for 12 ccf of water in December and 10 ccf of water in February, your average will be 11 ccf for the following year for sewer.

If you have a new account or an account that has not been billed for the full winter averaging cycle, you will be billed 11 ccf (which has been calculated to be the single-family average use for the winter months) until which time as you establish your own winter average.

Rate Study Council Presentations

20150408_1457222024 Water, Sewer and Stormwater Rates

The City of Washougal operates and maintains water, sewer and stormwater utilities, serving more than 17,490 customers. The safe and reliable delivery of these services is of utmost importance to each individual customer and to the overall health of our community. Utility systems are extremely complex and require a substantial financial investment to operate and maintain.  Establishing appropriate rates to support the operations of each utility is critically important to ensure the reliability and safety of these services to the community.

Sample proHow are rates established?

To establish the new rates for each of the utilities, city staff worked with a 9-member Community Advisory Committee (CAC) along with an independent third-party consultant for over a year period.

The CAC was formed in a deliberative manner to ensure that it is representative of the full range of ratepayers in the city. The city required interested members of the community to apply to be on the CAC and provided information about the role and time commitment required. CAC members had diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise, and include long-time and new community members, as well as individuals with experience in government, finance, and business, and administration. The CAC met six times over a nine-month period to receive detailed information on utility operations, revenue requirements, cost of service, and rate design.

The largest cost driver for providing utility services is, required capital facilities (infrastructure investments). To mitigate the impact of rate increases the group reviewed the cost-of-service, rate reinvestment funding, funding strategies (grants/loans), and capital programs to determine the best path forward.

photo 1When were the new rates set?

Rates for the 2024-2028 rate window were adopted on January 22, 2024. 

Where does revenue from customer-paid utility rates go?

The revenue received from customer-paid rates is, by law, consigned to individual enterprise accounts used exclusively for the cost of providing the utility service. This ensures that utility revenues and costs remain verifiable and separate from the General Fund, which is tax-funded and supports core municipal services such as police, fire, parks and streets.

The City of Washougal has always charged our own utilities a utility tax, which is a standard practice for public and private utilities (gas, phone, cable, etc). This year, and moving forward the utility tax that has been built-in to the rates will be separated out in all billings.  

How are the rates different from last year (2022)?

City of Washougal 2023 Single Family Utility Rates vs. 2024 Single Family Utility Rates by Service

HOW do Washougal rates compare with other cities?

A utility bill comparison among other areas around the region can be viewed at https://www.cityofvancouver.us/publicworks/page/utility-bill-comparison.

2024 Rates

  1. Water
  2. Sewer
  3. Stormwater

For the water utility, after a 10 year phase-out, the rate structure has reached the point in which you only pay for a base fee and actual consumption instead of paying for an allowance (set amount included in the flat fee).  This structure allows all customer classes to control their bill. 

Meter Size2024 Bi-Monthly Base Rate
3/4"$42.03

*1 CCF = 100 cubic feet of water = 748 gallons

For all usage, customers will pay the following (per unit):

Single Family Residential2024 Volume Change
0-12 CCF$2.33
13-30 CCF$6.32
Over 30 CCF$7.92

Water Utilities are subject to a 10% utility tax.

Related Documents