Water Authority Board Approves New Rate Structure

Water Authority Board Approves New Rate Structure

June 17, 2014


​Customers of the Bedford Regional Water Authority (“Authority”) in the Town of Bedford and Bedford County will have a new water rate effective July 1, 2014.

At the rates public hearing held on Tuesday, June 17th in the Authority’s board room, two people attended to speak at the hearing. Both were landlords in the Town of Bedford and expressed their concern about the cost of deposits.

After the public hearing closed the board members had the chance to discuss the concerns brought up by the public. The board understood the landlords’ concerns; earlier in the fiscal year the board had changed the deposit procedure to allow customers to base their deposit off their history, which could lower the cost of the deposit. However, after hearing this concern again, the board agreed to discuss ways to make deposits easier for landlords. Since this would be a policy change and not a change to the rates, the board decided to discuss this issue over the next few months.

After the deposits discussion, the board voted to approve the proposed rates in a 7-0 vote, effective July 1st.

The approved rates were based on the rate study completed prior to the rate hearing by Draper Aden Associates. This study gave multiple scenarios on how to equalize the rates over the next ten years (a requirement of reversion when the City of Bedford water department and the Bedford County Public Service Authority merged). The rate scenarios included the Authority’s debt service for new projects, increased operating costs, and growth anticipation. The Authority board used scenario “Smith Mountain Lake 1” for the rate structure voted into effect.

These new rates also offer more benefits for customers. After many requests by customers over the past year, the Authority now has a monthly billing option that customers may choose to sign-up for. This option comes with a $3 monthly fee to cover the extra cost of producing these bills. Also, this new rate structure has eliminated the minimum fee that had carried over from the City of Bedford rates (County customers did not have this rate). This may cause some customers’ bills to go down.

Another charge includes a credit card convenience charge for all customers who pay by credit or debit card. However, customers paying in person at the Authority’s office or with reoccurring payments will not be charged for this.

The new rates will also cover the funding needed to create a preventative maintenance program and to begin construction on the new Smith Mountain Lake Water Treatment plant that will eventually provide a backup source of water to the Town of Bedford.