PWD letters go out for rate hike

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The Portland Water District sent out letters to their customers this week announcing a rate hike of 11 percent, which will take effect over the course of the next three years.

“This will be the first time in 12 years that we have increased the rates,” said Michelle Clements, public relations manager for the Portland Water District. “But a recent study determined that we needed to replace a number of water mains, some of the current mains are over 100 years old.”

The utlitiy will raise rates 3.6 percent each year for the next three years.

The Portland Water District Board of Trustees approved the rate increase on July 24 by a vote of seven to three. The District then sent the file to the Public Utilities Commission for review and final approval.

Portland Water District customers have one month from the time they receive the letter to intervene or petition the Public Utilities Commission to stop the rate hike. That is something Clements hopes does not happen.

“This will be the first time in 12 years that we have increased the rates,” said Clements. “And we need this money for maintenance. It is much easier to go in and replace pipes when needed than to try to fix a pipe that has broken in the middle of winter.”

The study concluded that $175 million in investments would be needed over the next 20 years to upgrade the water system.

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