Summit Water Distribution Company set to increase rates in 2018
Hike will support upgrades and repairs, company says
October 25, 2017
Beginning in January, Summit Water Distribution Company users will notice a new monthly statement and an increase to their water bills.
In July, the water company's Board of Directors approved a new assessment structure to help offset the costs of system repairs and upgrades, said Andy Garland, general manager of Summit Water Distribution Company.
"Anyone connected to our system will be affected by this," Garland said. "But, it's just a normal course of business. The company was founded in 1979 and there are parts of the system that need to be updated."
The water company serves 4,400 connections between the top of Parley's Canyon and Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort, with users and businesses in the Jeremy Ranch, Kimball Junction and Trailside areas. Other neighborhoods and businesses are also served through the water company.
Under the new billing structure, shareholders will no longer receive a quarterly statement. They will, instead, be sent a monthly bill based on a fixed charge and water consumption levels. The monthly charge will be the same for every user, while consumption will depend on usage, the elevation of the connection and the pumping costs associated with delivery.
When Joe Feely, a Trailside resident, said he first learned about the new billing structure, he assumed his bill would drastically increase. But, Feely said he now understands that won't be the case. He anticipates experiencing a $25, or 2 percent, hike.
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"As a general practice, I do not have a problem with rates that reflect differing costs of operations," he said. "If more pumps are needed to move water to higher elevations and that increases the costs to serve certain customers, I don’t have a problem with the rates reflecting the added costs. On the other hand, I haven't had the time to look at the underlying cost structure."
For example, those with a 76-cent share will pay the base monthly assessment of $68.34, according to a letter posted to the water company's website. If a user in Zone 1, which includes Jeremy Ranch, Ecker Village, Kimball Junction, Creek View, Jeremy Cove and Ranch Place, consumes 5,000 gallons of water during a month, they will pay an additional 95 cents.
For those who live in Zone 2 — Bear Hollow Village, Brookside Estates, Hidden Cove, Mountain Ranch Estates, Trailside, Silver Summit — will pay an additional $5.15. Shareholders in Zone 3, which is comprised of residents and businesses in Aspen Creek Crossing, Canyons, Dutch Draw, Moose Hollow, The Woods of Parley's Lane and White Pine, will expect to pay $9.35 for 5,000 gallons of water.
"If you live in a zone that requires us to pump water to you through several different pumps, you will pay a higher rate than someone who doesn't have to use that kind of infrastructure to get the water," Garland said.
The money collected under the new assessment structure will support repairs and recoup losses during water main leaks, which can cost the water company between $7,000 and $12,000 on average, Garland said. He added, "Unfortunately, that stuff adds up."
"Our only funding source is though our assessments," he said. "Summit Water doesn't have any debt."
Garland said other projects that will be funded through the increase include the redrilling of the High Ute well in Kimball Junction and the replacement of pipes on Kilby Road and in the Hidden Cove and Jeremy Ranch neighborhoods.
User will also start seeing more frequent increases, Garland said. The last increase, which amounted to nearly 20 percent, was in 2015.
"It's just a normal course of business for an, unfortunately, aging system," he said. "I don't know why people would think any rate or any cost would stay stagnant."