The Charleston Sanitary Board (CSB) engaged Raftelis to develop a financial planning and rate model and perform a wastewater cost of service and rate study. Because it had been more than a decade since its last wastewater rate study, the CSB wanted to ensure that its wastewater user charges reflected the current cost of service, were equitable to their customers, and were consistent with current industry practices. To change its user rates, the CSB is required to follow legal procedures and guidelines as defined by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (Commission). The procedures include both pre-adoption steps and post-adoption steps, such as preparing written justification for rate increases, adopting a rate ordinance, and completing and publishing Commission Tariff Form No. 12 to ensure proper public notification of the impending rate increases.
To address CSB’s rate-setting objectives, Raftelis developed an alternative rate structure that eliminated the existing minimum usage allowance of 2,000 gallons per month and assessed monthly base charges that increased based on the size of the customer’s water meter. The alternative rate structure also included variable rates assessed per 1,000 gallons of metered water usage. To evaluate the alternative rate structure, Raftelis developed an analysis to evaluate the potential customer rate impacts of implementing the alternative rate structure. Although the alternative rate structure was deemed more equitable, CSB considered the initial rate impacts to be too significant for low-use residential customers and decided to maintain the existing rate structure adjusted to reflect the current cost of service.