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(Stillwater, OK) – Stillwater City Council will receive utility rate study findings and information from LM Vedder Consulting (electric), NewGen Strategies & Solutions, LLC. (water and wastewater), and Meshek/Jacobs (stormwater). This information will provide a summary of how the studies were conducted, the cost to provide utility services to customers, rate recommendations, and comparisons with other cities.
Utility rate studies were performed in 2019 but Councilors chose not to increase rates due to economic hardships initiated by the health crisis of 2020. Utility rate adjustments are now being revisited to ensure alignment between the cost of providing utility services to customers and current rate levels.
Given the length of time since rate structures have been updated, some rates are below cost of service and overall rate revenues have not kept up with operational and market cost increases. Consultants will present information on possible rate changes and how they could affect households. Discussion will include consumer-friendly options such as phasing in rate changes throughout multiple years.
“The ultimate goal of utility rate studies and this entire process – Council meetings, upcoming community meetings, and recommendations to Council later in November – is to ensure that rates cover the cost of services and that the rates set are equitable to all of our customers,” said Brady Moore, Interim City Manager.
Rate studies are done to identify revenue requirements, provide revenue stability and predictability, and ensure fairness among customer classes.
“The increase in operating costs and under-recovery of those costs through our rates has caused concerns as we anticipate future funding of operating and infrastructure needs in each of the utilities,” said Christy Cluck, Finance Director. “As we evaluate rate structures that recover our costs, we continuously remain customer focused to find the balance between funding necessary infrastructure projects while limiting the impact to our customers.”