2008-04-03

Different water rates for different residents

Your water usage in the past will now determine how much you pay for your water in the future. On Tuesday the Athens-Clarke County Commission passed a water pricing plan using "average winter month methodology" based on ratepayers' usage during the winter of 2006 and 2007. The usage for each household will set its individual pricing tier. Water used above the amount of this tier will be charged a higher rate. That means if a lower volume household were to increase its usage to equal a higher volume user, it will be charged more. Two households using the same amount of water can be charged different rates.

How is that fair?

How does that encourage the higher volume user to use less water?

How did seven commissioners suffer a lack of judgment and vote for this plan? Did they stop seeing the forest for the trees with Kathy Hoard's anecdote about poor people and Alan Reddish's warning about having a plan by June? I suppose they didn't they see the series of letters in the Athens Banner-Herald showing massive opposition to this plan from their constituents. Like many other proposals, some commissioners criticized it but voted for it anyway. Some had reservations but seemed to think it should be pushed along but could somehow be discussed further and modified later.

I no longer enjoy bandying about my opinion on local politics in this public channel, but unfairness needs to be pointed out. This concept wrongly assumes that every household was using the appropriate amount of water last winter, and it wrongly assumes that every household's water need is going to remain fixed.

I respectfully submit these criticisms and complaints to the community in hopes of finding out how this plan can be fair. I also submit that the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires similarly situated people to be treated alike, and I don't think it is constitutional to charge residential users different rates for water without looking at their actual circumstances. Looking at historical usage in isolation does not actually evaluate a household's water need.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

The correction needed for the ABH article is that the winter average comes from the 2005-06 winter, not the 2006-07 winter.