Denver Water's new rate structure has some customers paying much more and others seeing a decrease

New billing structure frustrating water customers

DENVER – Sam Ammirato has lived in Denver for more than 30 years and said he’s used to seeing reasonable increases, but he wasn’t anticipating the hike in his last bill.

Ammirato is paying $25 to $30 more for last month’s water use. When Denver was threatened with a drought, he made changes and was more conservative, but this time around he’s not willing to change.

“Then they said that they didn’t make enough money because they didn’t sell enough water. So, they increased the rates. To me, that’s a bit of hypocrisy,” said Ammirato.

Denver Water notified residents in February that it needed a 3.8 revenue increase to fix aging pipes and underground storage tanks. However, customers weren’t anticipating the hike to be so drastic.

Heather Halderman is also a Denver resident. She experienced an increase in her water bill, but isn’t sure why. Halderman said she assumes it’s because of water reduction.

In a statement to Denver7, Denver Water said, “One of the differences customers are seeing is the result of a hotter and drier summer. There has been a 32 percent increase in water use this year compared to last, and our rate structure is based on ‘the more you use, the more you pay.’”

Other water users tell our partners at the Denver Post, the new structure is leaving customers who use the least amount of water, with more expensive bills.

Again, Denver Water said those increases are due to the increased water usage, as a result of our dry summer.

Denver Water explained that in 2015, June and July were five degrees cooler and brought five more inches of precipitation to the metro area than those same months this year. This led to an overall water consumption increase this June and July of 32 percent -- about 4.3 billion gallons -- compared to last year.

However, some high-use water customers are seeing a decrease in their bill. The decrease comes after Denver Water consolidated its four-tiered billing system into three tiers.

People in the first tier used less water compared to people in the fourth-tier, who used the most.

So now, people who were initially in the fourth-tier are now in the third, resulting in up to 30 percent decreases.

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