The Norman Transcript

November 3, 2013

Utility bill increase would greatly impact commercial users

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I am an investor in a small commercial retail center located on West Lindsey Street in Norman. I was curious to see exactly how much our utility bill would increase per month using the new commercial rates that the city is contemplating.

According to what I had been reading, it was only going to be a minimum increase.

On Oct. 30, I went to the city of Norman utility department and had the person in charge refigure our last utility bill using the new sewer rates.

To my surprise and the lady that was refiguring my last month’s bill, the increase came to an astounding 49 percent more based only on the sewer maintenance, sewer charges and capital improvement charges (CIC).

Individual breakdown on different charges on our last month’s utility bill:

· Sewer maintenance charge went form $20 per month to $21.10 per month, or an increase of 5.5 percent.

· Sewer consumption charge went from $98.82 per month to $166.75 per month, or an increase of 68.7 percent.

· CIC charge went from $68.65 per month to $100.05 per month, or an increase of 45.7 percent.

This is a total increase of $100.43.

Our last month’s total utility bill was $581.17. If we deduct the water charge of $178.12 and the trash charge of $199.18, the balance of our utility bill totals $203.87. This total increase of $100.43 amounts to a 49 percent increase.

One item that has never been mentioned in the papers of publications put out by the city is that on commercial accounts, the CIC is basically computed at 60 percent of the total of certain sewer charges (sewer base charge, sewer replacement charge and the sewer consumption charge, which is itself based on 80 percent of the water usage). Therefore, any increase in sewer charges also increases the CIC charges.

This may sound complicated, but the end result is that our last month’s utility bill would increase (on the items listed above) by 49 percent. The $100.43 per month increase is not small to me.

According to the article in the Oct. 30 Norman Transcript, “The average commercial user would have an increase of $7.39 per month.” I believe that there will be a lot of non-average commercial users. I feel that this increase proposed by the city is excessive for commercial users.