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Proposed rates would encourage water conservation

The Rochester Public Utilities Board today will consider new water rates to encourage water conservation.

In a nutshell, the proposed rates charge customers at increasingly higher rates as they use more water. The rates will be based on each month's water usage. If the board approves the changes, it would serve as a recommendation to the city council.

"The place people will see it (the proposed rate changes) is more than likely in the summer, irrigation, watering gardens, washing cars outside," said RPU spokesman Tony Benson. "That's the place where customers will be able to hopefully change their behavior, change how they're using water and, in a sense, reduce how much they use."

Water usage is measured in units, with each unit equal to 748 gallons of water. The current rate for a unit of water is 69 cents.

The proposed rates are divided into three tiers, or blocks.


Residential customers would be charged 69.2 cents per unit for the first eight units they use each month, under the proposed changes. They would be charged 76.1 cents for units eight to 12.99 and 87.5 cents per unit for each unit above 13 units.

Eighty-five percent of RPU customers use 12 units of water a month or less.

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