EMWD Minimizes Inflationary Impacts In Proposed Rate Adjustments
Perris, CA (May 5, 2023) — As part of its longstanding commitment to deliver exceptional value to its customers, Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) has taken significant steps to reduce the financial impacts of record-setting inflation on its customers.
EMWD is among the leading agencies nationally in finding cost-effective solutions to deliver safe and reliable water and wastewater services to its customers that reduce the financial burden on its ratepayers.
EMWD will hold a public hearing to consider adopting a water rate increase of approximately 6.5 percent beginning January 1, 2024, and 6.9 percent effective January 1, 2025. In early May 2023, all EMWD customers were mailed an official notice, in compliance with Proposition 218, regarding the proposed rate increase and corresponding public hearing, which will take place on June 21, 2023, at 9 a.m. at EMWD’s Board Room, located at 2270 Trumble Road, Perris CA.
The proposed rate increases are below the historically high Consumer Price Index inflationary figure of 8.9 percent for the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area. As a result of inflation, EMWD has experienced significant cost increases for operations and supplies such as energy and chemicals.
EMWD’s proposed costs for the average water and sewer bill is still below those of many neighboring agencies. EMWD’s rates are significantly below the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s water affordability threshold for this region and its proposed rate increases are below the annual Consumer Price Index in Southern California.
To minimize the impact to customers, EMWD is drawing on its fiscal reserves to help offset the impacts of inflation. EMWD is also a national leader in securing grant funding and in 2022 secured more than $115 million in state and federal funding to help reduce the financial impacts to customers for the maintenance and expansion of its infrastructure.
EMWD has also invested heavily in sustainable and cost-effective projects, including solar energy and battery storage to lower EMWD’s overall energy costs.
Some of the other factors that help EMWD keep rates reasonable with minimal annual cost increases include:
- EMWD’s allocation-based rate structure provides for the recovery of fixed costs through daily service charges instead of volumetric water use and incentivizes customers to be efficient, resulting in lower water bills.
- The willingness to adopt nominal rate increases annually, instead of large rate spikes after periods of no rate adjustments, helps EMWD proactively maintain its infrastructure. This has been cited by rating agencies as a key factor in earning exceptional credit ratings, allowing EMWD to secure low rates when financing infrastructure projects.
- EMWD continues to invest in local water supply projects that provide a cost-effective water supply source when compared to imported water supplies.
“Our region has experienced inflationary impacts that we have not seen in generations,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “Even with those significant external cost increases that are outside of our control, we have managed to minimize the impacts to customers because of the proactive steps we have taken to reduce costs and secure external funding for capital projects.
“We are proud of our continued efforts to act in the best interest of our ratepayers and to minimize rate increases while still ensuring financial stability for their water district. We will continue to act in the best interest of our ratepayers in every decision we make.”
# # #
Eastern Municipal Water District is the water, wastewater service and recycled water provider to nearly one million people living and working within a 558-square mile service area in western Riverside County. It is California’s sixth-largest retail water agency, and its mission is “To deliver value to our diverse customers and the communities we serve by providing safe, reliable, economical and environmentally sustainable water, wastewater and recycled water services.” More information can be found at www.emwd.org.