The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously today to change its residential water rate structure in response to shifting patterns of water use brought on by the coronavirus emergency.
The change was recommended by Robert Massengill, the director of public utilities.
Massengill told the Council that even though businesses and schools are closed, the utility is not seeing an overall change in water use.
He believes that water use is simply shifting from offices and residence halls to homes.
With water use rising at home, higher water bills in the coming billing cycles may surprise some households — and be especially unwelcome if someone is dealing with unemployment.
Raleigh uses three tiers for residential water rates, meaning that the cost of water increases with higher use. In tier three, water is 33 percent more expensive than in tier two. The threshold between tier two and tier three is 11 CCF. A CCF is a unit of measurement equivalent to 748 gallons.
Starting April 16, the threshold for tier three will be 21 CCF. It will remain there until 30 days after the state of emergency is rescinded.
“There’s so much uncertainty right now,” Massengill said. “But we can make this adjustment without much financial hit on the utility.”