Board of Water Supply looks to raise rates to replace aging water mains

Another possible rate hike is in the works, this time from the Board of Water Supply.

It’s not yet clear how much rates could rise.

But board members will be meeting Friday to discuss the issue.

It’s been two years since rates went up, and a spokeswoman says the hike is necessary.

So how would the extra money be spent, and who could end up paying more?

A spokeswoman says the rate hike probably will not happen until next year. The extra money will go to fixing the aging pipes to prevent water main breaks.

If it seems like water main breaks are happening on Oahu every day, it’s pretty close. The Board of Water Supply says on average, we get 300 breaks per year.

“We need to fix it. We need to makes those changes. We need to replace our pipeline so we can reduce that, and we want to reduce it down to about 250,” said Kathleen Pahinui, Board of Water Supply spokeswoman.

There are about 2,100 miles of pipeline on Oahu and BWS wants to replace them at a rate of 21 miles per year. But to do that will take more money.

Pahinui says board members want to raise the rate gradually.

“One of the things we want to make sure we’re avoiding is rate shock, so we’re not looking at wild swings in rate increases. We want to keep them low and steady,” Pahinui said.

Pahinui adds that payment from single-family homes don’t cover the cost of providing the services. Other customers make up the difference.

Currently single family homes pay $4.42 per 13,000 gallons of water. One option is to keep the price the same as long as you don’t go over 6,000 gallons.

“So instead of 13,000 gallons as the first tier, we lower it to 6,000 gallons, and so that means that anyone that uses more water over 6,000 would pay a slightly higher rate, so that’s one way to capture more funds to cover the cost of service,” Pahinui said.

Pahinui says the average household uses 5,000 to 6,000 gallons a month.

The board meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m., and it’s open to the public.

The last time there was a rate hike was in 2010, which was spaced out over years.

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