Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

RPU to continue listening to customers input on water conservation rates


october 23, 2009

CONTACT:             Tony Benson

                                Communications Coordinator




RPU to continue listening to customers input on water conservation rates



ROCHESTER, MN— Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) continues to seek customer input on the proposed water conservation rates that will be going into effect in 2010. During the October Utility Board meeting on October 27, there will be an open comment period available for customers to provide input to staff and the Board on the rates and rate structure.


Reasons why RPU is working to implement the new water conservation rates are because of RPU’s dedication to be good stewards of the environment and because of the new Minnesota state statute that requires water utilities to implement a water conservation rate. The rate structure will be chosen by the Utility Board based on customer input, an independent cost of service study, and financial impact on all customer classes that meet the state’s conservation goal(s).


The study develops the revenue requirements for providing water service based on class of customer and the demand that each type of customer places on the system.  As a community owned utility, RPU rates are designed to charge only to supply the service. RPU does not anticipate a change in the overall revenue for the water utility, but will see a change in the fixed charges and the commodity charges by customer class and type of use.


Based on the study, there are three types of conservation rates being proposed.


·          Inclining block rates- An inclining block rate sets a threshold for customer’s usage. Up to a certain level of usage will cost customers a lower rate per unit, but above the threshold the rate per unit goes up for the higher usage.

·          Seasonal rates regardless of the type of customer- Rates would be set depending on what time of the year the water is used. There would be an off-peak (winter) and an on-peak (summer) usage rate per unit. During on-peak months, the cost per unit would be higher than off-peak months. This would apply to all customer classes.

·          Seasonal rates based on customer class- This rate structure would be a seasonal on-peak and off-peak rate, but the cost per unit would vary depending on the customer class.


“Water is a very precious commodity and is only going to remain plentiful if we all work to conserve it. We understand that pricing changes in order to incent conservation is a new approach. By listening to our customers and using the data from the cost of service study, we will be equipped to present the Utility Board with the best information available so that they can make an informed decision,” said Larry Koshire, RPU General Manager.


Pricing impact to customers will differ depending on the rate structure and water usage. Timing for a decision on a rate structure and when the new rate structure will go into place is still being determined by RPU staff and the Utility Board.


An open comment period will be available for customers to speak with the RPU Utility Board at the October Board Meeting on Tuesday, October 27 at 4p.m. at the RPU Service Center.


For more information on RPU or on the water conservation rates, please contact Tony Benson at 507-280-1534 or email at


About Rochester Public Utilities


As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 47,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 36,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.




One Response to “RPU to continue listening to customers input on water conservation rates”

  1. Richard Otto Says:

    Dear RPU Utility Board, I am sorry I was not able to make the meeting currently underway today. Thank You for making this electronic means available for input! My input: I have been wondering why my water and sewage costs are so high and discovered that even though I have been doing all the right things to conserve water… you are penalizing me! As I understand you have been charging a winter water rate; moroever, this water usage is tied directly to the sewage charge as well. Why should I conserve! I replaced my perfectly good toilets with low water usage toilets, I have purchased one of the most water efficient washing machines, I have had water restricters in my showers from day one, and I use Systern rain barrels to collect rain water from my roof in order to water my lawn. I paid for gutter work and rain barrels which resulted in my essentially using no water on my lawn this past summer; yet, I am charged similarly to the water hogs who use hundreds if not thousands of gallons of city water on their lawns through the whole year!

    Please let me know what you can do to reward me this year. Thank you.

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