The Gilbert Town Council has approved utility rate changes that will go into effect on November 1, 2018.
Rate adjustments are needed to keep utility services funds balanced with expenses over the next few years. Commercial water and wastewater rates have been unchanged since 2009, and environmental services rates were decreased in 2012.
We hosted two community open house workshops in August to help answer questions regarding these changes. Weren’t able to join us? View the presentation slides here.
Frequently Asked Questions
When was the last utility rate increase?
- Environmental Services rates were decreased in 2012
Why do we need a utility rate increase?
- The Gilbert Town Council has reviewed the fiscal health of the community’s water, wastewater, reclaimed water, and environmental services utilities and determined that rate adjustments are needed to keep the funds balanced with expenses over the next few years.
- The rate adjustments are needed in order to maintain current service levels as our community continues to age and grow.
- A financially strong and stable utility is necessary in order to maintain the existing, critical infrastructure and services our customers rely on now and into the future. As infrastructure ages, it needs maintained and sometimes, replaced.
- The new rates better reflect today’s cost of service to deliver safe and reliable water, remove and treat wastewater, deliver reclaimed water to landscape irrigation customers, provide trash and recycling services, and meet federal and state mandates to protect the environment.
What has Gilbert done to be as efficient as possible in order to prevent rate increases?
Gilbert is committed to operating as efficiently as possible. Therefore, we strive to be proactive and prepared in our infrastructure maintenance. Due to our efforts, we have not had a rate increase since 2009.
Read about how Gilbert beats industry standards and conducts long range planning to ensure the system is maintained in a cost-effective manner:
- Energy efficiency in water production and pumping
- Preventative maintenance of fire hydrants
- Maintaining water distribution infrastructure
- Wastewater removal, treatment, and purification
- Gilbert’s water sources
- Ensuring high water quality 24/7, 365 days a year
- Groundwater recharge
What is the water consumption or usage fee for commercial customers?
- For indoor or domestic use, a water consumption rate is $1.60 per 1,000 gallons used in a month.
- For outdoor or landscape use, a water consumption rate is $2.06 per 1,000 gallons used in a month.
- These costs better reflect the costs of delivering water service.
What is the water meter base fee for commercial customers?
The meter base fee, sometimes referred to as a fixed charge, is based on the size of the water meter and called the Meter Base Fee on your bill. The meter base fee pays for the “fixed” costs of operating and maintaining our water system, such as treatment plants, fire hydrants, underground water lines, water meters, and water isolation valves that provide safe and reliable water 24/7, 365 days a year. The cost to maintain these assets are “fixed” in the sense that no matter how much water is used, we still need to maintain all of that infrastructure in order to deliver it your commercial establishment.
Additionally, the meter fee pays for the capacity in the water system to serve your facility with water. For example, a smaller sized meter means smaller anticipated water demands. A larger sized meter suggests larger water demands and thus more capacity in the system is needed. Larger meters pay for this extra capacity in our water system via higher monthly meter base fee charges. You can locate your water meter size on your commercial utility bill. If you cannot locate, feel free to call a customer service professional at (480) 503-6800.
The new water meter base fees per month for commercial customers are as follows:
- 3/4 inch = $16.30
- 1 inch = $27.25
- 1.5 inch = $54.30
- 2 inch = $86.90
- 3 inch = $173.95
- 4 inch = $271.75
- 6 inch = $543.30
- 8 inch = $869.30
Where can I find the full listing of the proposed commercial water consumption fees and meter base fees compared to the current fees?
See the full listing of the new commercial rates.
Do the new rates alter how Gilbert charges commercial customers for wastewater removal and treatment?
Gilbert will continue to charge a sewer variable rate for commercial uses of Gilbert’s sanitary sewer system. The adjusted fee is $1.65 per 1,000 gallons of water used (previous fee was $1.99 per 1,000 gallons).
With the new rates, a new sewer base rate will be instituted. Currently, commercial customers in Gilbert are not charged a sewer base rate. This fee is needed to ensure commercial domestic water customers pay their fair share for the use of and impact to Gilbert’s sanitary sewer system. This base rate is $16.64 per month.
What does a sewer base rate for commercial customers pay for?
The base rate helps recover the fixed asset costs to safely remove and purify wastewater (think sanitary sewer pipes, lift stations to move wastewater, and operations and maintenance of water reclamation facilities where treatment and purification of wastewater occurs).
What is a sewer variable rate for commercial customers?
The sewer variable rate is charged only to domestic water meters (not landscape water meters) and based on monthly water usage. For the purposes of billing, it is assumed that all water used on a domestic water meter is returned to the sewer. Sewer variable fees change each month according to water consumption at the facility.
Do the new rates alter how Gilbert charges commercial customers for reclaimed water use?
- The new rates for reclaimed water better reflect the cost of service of this water supply, as well as the increasing value of this water supply.
- The new rate for reuse reclaimed customers is $0.40 per 1,000 gallons.
- The reclaimed water base rate will remain unchanged, at $15.00 per month.
Do the new rates alter how Gilbert charges commercial customers for environmental services (trash and recycling)?
- The new rates are projected to recover the costs to provide commercial customers with this utility service.
- The new rates include adjustments to the pickup rate for each size and frequency of container pickup. See the full listing of the commercial environmental services rates here.
I’m looking at my bill and I don’t currently see an environmental compliance fee. What is this?
You will now see a fee up to $4.28 on your monthly Gilbert utility bill marked as “environmental compliance fee.” In the past, this program was funded out of the environmental services (trash and recycling) utility service. However, to be transparent about the cost of this service, a separate fee is being applied.
It is important to note that these programs are not newly created by Gilbert, but have existed for some time in response to State and Federal environmental protection requirements. To fund these programs properly in order to remain in compliance with state and federal laws, the environmental compliance fee will now appear as a line item on your utility bill. Transparency and properly funding this utility service ensures that the beneficiaries (residents and businesses of Gilbert) pay into the costs required to maintain a healthy environment.
I need more help understanding what the impact will be to my business, school, church, or multifamily facility.
Please contact Eric.Braun@gilbertaz.gov with any questions you may have.
Why do you ask me to conserve water and then raise my rates?
Water conservation has actually helped prevent the need for rate increases. Gilbert water customers have steadily been reducing their demand since 1997. Due to this decrease in per person demand, we didn’t have to expand our facilities as much or acquire as many water supplies. When everyone conserves, everyone saves.
Rates are 6% lower today than they would have been if customers hadn’t conserved. Conservation is part of the reason we have not had to have a rate increase since 2009.
How does Gilbert compare with its neighbors in terms of rates for utility services?
Even with the new rate increases, Gilbert is still one of the lowest cost (and highest quality) utility service providers in the Valley. See how Gilbert ranks compared to other municipalities in terms of costs of utility services provided.
What’s contained in my utility bill?
Gilbert provides five utility services: water, sewer/ wastewater, reclaimed water, environmental services, and environmental compliance. As residents, businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, hotels, or multifamily complexes residing in Gilbert, you may utilize all or only some of the utility services Gilbert provides.
The use of a specific utility service is reflected on your individual Gilbert utility bill. For example:
- Only large landscapes like HOAs and golf courses use reclaimed water and are billed for their consumption accordingly.
- Businesses have the option to use private trash haulers instead of Gilbert’s commercial refuse services.
- If you are in a county island and maintain a septic system, you won’t see a sewer fee portion on your bill because your wastewater does not go into Gilbert sanitary sewer system.
- Everyone pays for environmental compliance, because everyone benefits from a healthy environment.
How much water should be used on a large commercial, HOA, or multifamily landscape?
Gilbert Water Conservation is here to help you use the right amount of water for specific site. The Water Wise Gilbert program can show you how much water you should be using month by month and compare that to what your landscape is actually using. See if you have room for savings. Contact us to learn more.
We offer many tools to help businesses, schools, churches, multifamily facilities, and other commercial establishments use water wisely. Learn more at gilbertaz.gov/water. There you can subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter for monthly tips on how to save water.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at Water.Conservation@gilbertaz.gov or 480-503-6098 for assistance.