We’re constantly told to conserve resources, to use less and be environmentally responsible. The City of Austin is making that less attractive. They are going to be raising water rates… because people have cut back on water usage.
According to the Austin American Statesman:
Whether water sales are diminished by the skies above or the environmental intentions of the citizens beneath them, the utility still has bills to pay, and customers — particularly bigger homes and developers — will probably start paying for it soon. The utility is planning to overhaul its rate structure this fall, following the recommendations of a city committee that spent months examining the city-owned water provider.
The rate hike would initially hit developers and “homes with above-average water use.” Half of the Austin homes would see a “temporary break.”
Because city fathers so poorly planned their spending and messaging, they are now creating a new “reserve” fund for Austin’s water services… paid for with a new fee for every customer, of course.
This is a sadly typical example of government monopolies failing to recognize the basic laws of economics. The city piled on debt and costs at the same time they began working to convince residents water conservation was important.
Demand fell, but the city’s fixed costs are so high they are raising prices. We’ll see how that ol’ supply-and-demand curve reacts to that.
That’s the thing about government monopolies: you’re billed if you use, and billed if you don’t.