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City of Austin - Cost of Service Rate Study 2016
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Austin Water is conducting a Cost of Service (COS) Rate Study of its water, wastewater, and reclaimed water rates in 2016. The process entails a comprehensive review of the methodology used to allocate costs amongst customer classes and to update and improve the methods for determining fair and defensible rates of utility services.

The City and Raftelis Financial Consultants will perform the COS Rate Study to design retail and wholesale cost-based rates for water and wastewater service by reviewing the following:

1.Revenue Requirements – Compare Utility revenue to its expenses and determine the overall level of rate adjustment necessary.

2.Cost of Service – Allocate the revenue requirement between the various customer classes equitably.

3.Rate Design – Design rates for each customer class that meet the revenue needs of the utility along with any other rate design goals and objectives.

Over the next several months, this project will include retail and wholesale participation committee meetings in order to receive input from the public. Meeting schedules and information will be provided on the Austin Water website.

The COS Rate Study project team and the public may submit questions, comments and informational requests by submitting through the form below. A response from the Utility may be delayed based on the volume of the requests.

Do you need to send us a document? You may email documents to Contact COS Project Team. Please reference the question/comment ID number in the “Subject” line.

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ID Class Topic Requestor Requestor Questions Status Response
804 All Classes General Cost of Service Martin Hodell Submitted: 08/24/2016
Could you please share the historical rates and % change by year from ~1995 to 2016. Please indicate what level of consumption is assumed (e.g., 10k gallons/mo, 15k gallons...)
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805 Wholesale General Cost of Service Clay Collins Submitted: 09/27/2016
There was some mention at today's Wholesale Cost of Service meeting about the PUC settlement with some of the wholesale customers. My understanding is that part of this case dealt with costs that were included in the current cost of service model that were determined not to be applicable to wholesale customers. Can the costs that were disallowed by the PUC be identified and discussed at one of the next two Committee meetings? And can we be informed as to which of these costs COA intends to include in the 2017 Revenue Requirements for Wholesale Customers?
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814 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 09/28/2016
Water and Wastewater Cost of Service meeting questions to cover over the course of the study. Submitted by Lanetta Cooper during the Public Involvement Committee on Tuesday, September 27, 2016.
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815 Multifamily Customer Demand Characteristics Marcia Stokes Submitted: 09/29/2016
Requested information during the 09/27/16 PIC meeting. "What are the population percentages for 'single-family' residential and 'multi-family' residential water and wastewater customer of Austin Water?"
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816 All Classes Customer Demand Characteristics Dan Wilcox Submitted: 09/29/2016
Question submitted at 09/27/16 PIC meeting. "Can staff provide the revenue by customer class for FY 2015 in the same format as the consumption/flows by customer class?"
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817 All Classes General Cost of Service Marcia Stokes Submitted: 09/30/2016
Can staff provide an updated history of fixed & volumetric charges by customer class as provided in AWU 2012 Joint Subcommittee Financial Plan website question 208 2/24/2012?
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818 All Classes General Cost of Service Phil Howry Submitted: 09/30/2016
Does the AWU pay a tiered-rate structure for water pumped from the LCRA system and by reason of the city's historic "riparian rights" to river water, at what extaction volume does the AWU begin paying the LCRA for water? Does the per unit water treatment costs rise or fall with volume? Please explain. How can AWU funds transferred per annum to the city's general fund be deemed a legitimate AWU "rate matrix expense"?
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820 All Classes Cost Recovery Basis Jim Schaffrath Submitted: 09/30/2016
Why is it we always approach City utility rates from the revenue side of the ledger? Since we are going to computerized meters are we going to lay off the meter readers? If not, why not? Are there any other cost reducing measures that have been considered? Why haven't we an opportunity to comment on those? I do not want my water bill increased for any reason until we have exhausted cost saving measures.
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827 All Classes General Cost of Service Amenity Applewhite Submitted: 10/11/2016
How have you notified Austin residents about the series of public meetings? I polled 22 residents/customers in my neighborhood and 100% had not heard about the Service Rate Study and public participation options. Additionally, I would like information on how you recruited the Public Involvement Committee Members. Thank you.
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828 All Classes General Cost of Service Karyn Keese Submitted: 10/12/2016
09/28/16 PIC Meeting questions submitted Via written document.
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829 Wholesale Revenue Requirements Robert Anderson Submitted: 10/12/2016
Question submitted via 9/27/2016 WIC meeting. "Please provide a listing of the 'Peaking Factors' for all customer classes".
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830 All Classes General Cost of Service Dave Yanke Submitted: 10/12/2016
Question submitted via 09/27/16 PIC meeting. "Can staff provide information as to what other cities are using as a policy for 'Operating Cash Reserves'. Top 30 cities for example."
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832 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
Currently, how much is the average annual residential water bill for Austin Water Utility customers in dollars per month and as a percentage of median household income (MHI)?
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833 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
Currently, how much is the average annual residential wastewater bill for Austin Water Utility customers in dollars per month and as a percentage of MHI?
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834 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
With as many specifics as possible, please provide Austin Water Utility’s plans to address residential rate affordability and the disproportionate cost of water and wastewater service for residential customers as a percentage of MHI (as reported by Fitch).
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836 All Classes Cost Recovery Basis Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
Given that only monthly water consumption data is available, please provide the underlying assumptions that will be used to develop the peak day and peak hour water demands by customer class, as well as the basis for these assumptions, if this methodology is pursued.
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837 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
For the allocation of Customer Care costs between electric, water, wastewater, ARR (solid waste), drainage, transportation and code compliance, please explain the rationale for the following organization costs being allocated to electric, water and wastewater only. Please also provide a brief explanation for each cost. a. Bill Production (Org 8807) b. Revenue Measurement and Control (Org 8811) c. Bill Support (Org 8817) d. Quality Management (Org 8818) e. CCC-Small Commercial (Org 8820) f. Multi-Family Partnership Program (Org 8824)
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838 All Classes General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
Please provide the currently outstanding principal amount for any debt that will be repaid by the water, reclaimed water, or wastewater utilities, by series. For shared debt (e.g., General Obligation issues), please identify the percentage of the issue that is allocated to water, reclaimed water, or wastewater.
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839 All Classes General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
What is the current cash balance for the water, reclaimed water, and wastewater utilities, segregated by purpose (e.g., Rate Stability Reserve, Operating Reserve, etc.)? Please identify any restricted amounts.
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840 All Classes General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
Related to the FY 2017 Proposed O&M budget: a. The program costs for Water Resources Management in the water and wastewater budgets have increased significantly between FY 2014 (Actual) and FY 2017 (Proposed). Can you explain what is driving this increase? b. Were the transfers to Administrative Support in the FY 2017 budget formerly captured within the line item for transfers to Support Services Fund in the FY 2014 and FY 2015 actuals? c. Why is there a transfer to the Economic Development in the FY 2017 budget? Wasn’t this a cost no longer to be recovered from Austin Water or did we misunderstand this treatment? d. The program costs for Utility Billing System Support in the wastewater budget have increased significantly between FY 2014 (Actual) and FY 2017 (Proposed). Can you explain what is driving this increase?
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844 Large Volume General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs for the Land Management Division will be allocated 100% to retail customers. In FY 13, revenue requirements for the Land Management Division were $1,458,750. What is the amount in FY 17? If AW eliminated the Land Management Division, could AW still provide water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service? If not, how much could AW reduce the expenditures relating to the Land Management Division and still continue to provide water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service?
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845 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs for Reicher Ranch O&M and capital costs will be allocated 100% to retail customers. In FY 13, revenue requirements included $105,770 in O&M and $818,704 in capital costs. What are the amounts in FY 17? If AW sold Reicher Ranch, could AW still provide water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service?
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846 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs for Bad Debt Expense will be allocated 100% to retail customers. In FY 13, revenue requirements for the Bad Debt Expense were $925,000 water and $917,500 wastewater. What are the amounts in FY 17? What is the breakout of bad debt expense for each retail class?
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847 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs for Accounts Receivable Leak Adjustment will be allocated 100% to retail customers. In FY 13, revenue requirements for the Accounts Receivable Leak Adjustment were $785,000 water and $97,100 wastewater. What are the amounts in FY 17? What is the breakout of bad debt expense for each retail class?
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848 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs for the Radio Communications Fund will be allocated 100% to retail customers. In FY 13, revenue requirements for the Radio Communications Fund were $192,470 water and $192,470 wastewater. What are the amounts in FY 17? If AW eliminated the costs for the Radio Communications Fund, could AW still provide water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service? If not, how much could AW reduce the expenditures relating to the costs for the Radio Communications Fund and still continue to provide water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service?
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849 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs for 311 System Support has been classified as “Budget Reduction,” which AW staff indicated in the PIC meeting meant that these costs were entirely eliminated from AW’s FY 17 budget because they did not relate to AW. Page 30 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document shows $169,190 for Interdepartmental Charges for FY 17. According to the Austin Water Fund Line Item Description at the end of the same document, Interdepartmental Charges indicates that “…this requirement is AW’s allocation to fund the 311 System Support…” Will this amount be eliminated from the Cost of Service as not necessary for AW to provide service?
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850 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: What other costs on page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) that are classified as “Budget Reduction” have simply been reclassified, renamed, or otherwise changed such that they remain in the FY 17 budget despite AW’s statements that they should be and have been removed?
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851 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 24 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #37 and #38) which indicates that costs associated with the City Hall water feature will be allocated 100% to retail customers. In FY 13, capital costs for the City Hall water feature were $450,000. What is the amount in FY 17? Is the City Hall water feature currently running? If AW sold the City Hall water feature, could AW still provide water, wastewater, and reclaimed water service?
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852 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 25 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #39 and #40). Listed on those slides are the following PUCT revenue requirement disallowances with their FY 13 amounts added below: 1. General Fund Transfer ($34,524,366 O&M) 2. Rate Case Expenses ($641,811 O&M in FY 13 budget, $1.3 million actual) 3. Reclaimed water system ($960,000 O&M and $960,000 capital) 4. Reclassification of SWAP and commercial paper costs from capital to operating expense ($4,000,000 O&M) 5. Allocation of O&M expense to Reclaimed Water ($4,857,528 O&M) What are the FY 17 amounts for the above items? How are these being allocated among customer classes?
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853 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 25 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #39 and #40). Listed on those slides are the following PUCT revenue requirement disallowances with their FY 13 amounts added below: 1. Green Water Treatment Plant Costs ($12,073,835 capital) 2. Revenue Stability Reserve Fund ($5,516,300 O&M) 3. Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District ($900,000 O&M) 4. Govalle Wastewater Treatment Plant ($835,516 O&M and $1,368,571 capital) 5. Utility-wide Contingency ($176,175 O&M) 6. Green Choice Electricity ($4,622,644 O&M increase vs. normal electricity costs) What are the FY 17 amounts for the above items? How are these being allocated among customer classes?
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857 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 25 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #39 and #40). In PUCT Docket No. 42857, AW spent over $1.3 million in legal and consulting fees in order to defend its positions before the PUCT and convince the PUCT of the validity of its costs: (SEE LIST IN COMMENTS SECTION) In addition to incurring the outside legal and consulting expenses, AW spent considerable unquantified internal resources working on the case. According to AW staff at the October 5 PIC meeting, AW “may come back” and attempt to convince the PUCT that the PUCT’s decisions were wrong and that the previously disallowed items should be included in cost of service. Please quantify the cost of this effort that is included in the FY 17 budget.
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858 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Has AW quantified the difference in rate case expenses required to defend a cash basis approach vs. a utility basis approach at the PUCT? The utility basis will require qualified outside experts to conduct and defend depreciation studies, cost of capital analyses, and cash working capital amounts. If yes, how much is that difference, and how much is included in the FY 17 budget? If not, why not, since AW has indicated that it is considering submitting a utility basis approach to the PUC.
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859 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Does AW agree that simply because an expenditure may be considered by some to be “good for society” does not mean that it is reasonable and necessary to recover the cost in utility rates?
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860 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide a listing of all legal fees in the FY 17 budget and the purpose of each.
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861 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: What are the legal fees in the FY 17 budget associated with appeals of PUCT decisions or future PUCT rate cases?
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862 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please verify that AW is properly removing from the COS all amounts transferred to the capital infrastructure fund relating to the Capital Management Department ($2.6 million in water O&M in FY 13 and $1.4 million in wastewater O&M in FY 13) as ordered by the PUCT in Docket No. 42857. What are the amounts in AW’s FY 17 budget for the Capital Management Department?
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863 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please verify that AW has properly booked the net proceeds of the sale of the Green Water Treatment Plant ($34,765,000) into a capital account for future use in capital projects for AW as ordered by the PUCT in Docket No. 42857. How much of the $34,765,000 booked amount will AW utilize for capital projects FY 17?
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865 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide a listing of all of the revenue requirements inputs to the FY 17 water COS model and compare those amounts to the same categories of input amounts in the FY 13 water COS model.
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866 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide a listing of all of the revenue requirements inputs to the FY 17 wastewater COS model and compare those amounts to the same categories of input amounts in the FY 13 wastewater COS model.
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867 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide the complete detailed water asset listing (including original cost, accumulated depreciation, annual depreciation expense, and net asset value) that will be used in the FY 17 water COS model.
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868 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide the complete detailed wastewater asset listing (including original cost, accumulated depreciation, annual depreciation expense, and net asset value) that will be used in the FY 17 wastewater COS model.
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869 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide the anticipated level of capital spending for each of the next ten fiscal years (or as many years as possible if ten years’ data is not available) for each of the water, wastewater, and reclaimed water utilities.
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871 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference p. 16 of the September 27, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slide #19) which indicates that AW has 1,170.00 FTE positions in FY 2017. Please separate this into water, wastewater, and reclaimed water. How many of these positions are vacant today, and what are the revenue requirements (budgeted payroll and benefits) associated with these vacancies? Please also separate vacancy count and revenue requirements into water, wastewater, and reclaimed water.
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874 All Classes General Cost of Service Randy Wilburn Submitted: 10/25/2016
The Texas Public Utility Commission has already declared the following costs illegal for the COA to collect through water and wastewater rates: • General Fund Transfers; • rate case expenses; • reclaimed water (capital and O&M costs); • City’s reclassification of SWAP and commercial paper administration costs from capital to expense; • drainage fee; • allocation of O&M expenses to the reclaimed water utility; • depreciation; • Green Water Treatment Plant capital costs; • Revenue Stability Reserve Fund; • Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District; • Govalle Wastewater Treatment Plant (capital costs/O&M costs); • utility-wide contingency; • Water Treatment Plant No. 4; and • Green Choice electricity When will AWU reduce all customers revenue requirements and rates in accordance with PUC Order?
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875 Wholesale General Cost of Service Randy Wilburn Submitted: 10/25/2016
Why are the Wholesale and Out-of-CIty customers being excluded from the PIC? ALL customers, including wholesale and out-of-City customers, should be part of the PIC process.
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878 Large Volume General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 10/26/2016
(This question was originally submitted as a comment on 10/24/16) Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide the following information pertaining to the sale(s) in FY 13, FY 14, FY 15, or FY 16 of any large AW assets (original cost greater than $1,000,000): • original cost • net asset value when sold • gross and net proceeds from sale, and • explanation of difference in gross and net proceeds (e.g., decommissioning cost, remediation, etc.).
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880 Large Volume General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 10/26/2016
(This question was originally submitted as a comment on 10/24/16)Industrial/Large Volume: Please provide the proposal and the agreement with Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. to conduct this COS Study. How does AW propose to recover this cost from customers?
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881 All Classes General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/26/2016
Related to the FY 2017 Proposed O&M budget, for each line-item below please indicate what is driving the significant increase in this cost for the combined utilities (from the FY 2015 Actual) AND if the cost is expected to persist at the FY 2017 level into the future. a) Temporary Employees (acct 5006) b) Security Services (acct 5675) c) Other Services (acct 5860) d) Interdepartmental Charges (acct 6203) e) Legal Claims/Damages (acct 6355) f) Pipeline Maintenance (acct 6396) g) Commercial Incentives (acct 6811) h) Household Efficiency (acct 6813) i) Irrigation Efficiency (acct 6814)
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884 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
1. [Wholesale] AW is required to submit a rate filing package to the PUC in order to change the rates of the four wholesale customers who were parties to the rate case (PUCT Docket No. 42857), and the COA Purchasing Office’s Scope of Work for the current COS study (Solicitation #RFP CDL2002) states that the COS consultant will be designing a working model for the PUC rate filing package concurrent with the preparation of this COS Study. Please provide this model when it is available.
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885 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
2. [Wholesale] According to the procedural schedule adopted for Austin Energy’s 2016 cost of service and rate review (shown in Impartial Hearing Examiner’s Memorandum No. 8) the parties submitted prefiled direct written testimony, conducted discovery, submitted prefiled rebuttal testimony, participated in a four-day hearing, and filed closing arguments in a manner similar to those used in a contested case at the PUC. Does AW envision using substantially the same process as AE? If not, what is expected to be different, and why?
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886 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
3. [Wholesale] Provide the solicitation (as defined in COA Purchasing Office’s Standard Purchase Definitions) for AW’s request for an Impartial Hearing Examiner related to the current AW cost of service study.
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887 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
4. [Wholesale] Provide the contract (as defined in COA Purchasing Office’s Standard Purchase Definitions) for AW’s Impartial Hearing Examiner related to the current AW cost of service study.
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888 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
5. [Wholesale] If AW changes the rate methodology for the wholesale customers from the current cash basis to a utility basis, how does AW propose to compensate or credit these customers for their historical contributions to cash-funded capital to avoid double-collecting?
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889 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
6. [Wholesale] If AW changes the rate methodology for the wholesale customers from the current cash basis to a utility basis, how does AW propose to compensate or credit these customers for their historical debt service contributions used to retire principal on debt? How will AW avoid double-collecting since most assets have shorter debt repayment schedules than the corresponding depreciable lives for the same assets?
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890 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
7. [Wholesale] According to the COA Purchasing Office’s Scope of Work for the current COS study (Solicitation #RFP CDL2002), the consultant will “develop written process documentation of PUC rate filing requirements learned from any meetings with PUC staff.” Please provide that document when available.
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891 Wholesale General Cost of Service Jay Joyce Submitted: 11/22/2016
8. [Wholesale] According to the COA Purchasing Office’s Scope of Work for the current COS study (Solicitation #RFP CDL2002), the consultant will have up to three meetings with PUC staff to assist AW in developing the wholesale rate filing package. Please describe how AW or the consultant is engaging the PUC and provide any documentation submitted to any PUC personnel on this topic. If the PUC has responded, please describe their response and provide all documents given to AW or its consultants by the PUC in their response(s).
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896 Outside General Cost of Service Chuck Loy Submitted: 11/30/2016
Regarding the current consideration of calculating the "Outside" rates using the Utility Method. Does AW have detailed records to be able to identify the plant that is providing service to outside customers? Or alternatively, can reasonable allocations be developed such as inch-feet, water produced or transferred, etc.? How would shared production facilities be allocated?
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899 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 12/01/2016
Please indicate if the $900,000 per year currently budgeted by Austin Water to support the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is a cost that has been specifically assigned to Austin Water by the Texas Legislature or, rather, was assigned to the City of Austin and the City decided that it should be paid by Austin Water.
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900 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 12/01/2016
Please provide the following data for each of the last five (5) fiscal years and the estimates for the current budget by utility (i.e., water, reclaimed water and wastewater). a) Dollar amount of cash funded capital expenditures b) Dollar amount of total capital expenditures c) Total debt service (principal and interest) d) Debt to equity ratio e) Debt service coverage ratio f) Total cash reserves g) Days cash on hand
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904 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/07/2016
Questions relating to W/WW Cost of Service Submitted by Lanetta Cooper December 7, 2016, Prt.1 “You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. 1. Please answer the questions I provided to you through the PIC meeting on September 2, 2016 and that are posted on your website. 2. Please provide the formula, calculation, model, and./or such other procedure you have/are using to determine what amount of revenue stability reserves is necessary to maintain the utility’s fiscal soundness. 3. Please identify what water systems you are aware of operating in Texas that have revenue stability reserves.
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905 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/07/2016
Questions relating to W/WW Cost of Service Submitted by Lanetta Cooper December 7, 2016, Prt.2 “You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. 4. Please explain how the revenue stability reserve costs were allocated among the various customer classes for FY 2017 or for the most recent FY available. 5. For each fiscal year since the creation of the revenue stability reserve to the present, please provide the amount of revenues W/WW realized from each customer class. 6. Please provide the total level of reserves W/WW opines it needs to maintain fiscal responsibility.
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906 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/07/2016
Questions relating to W/WW Cost of Service Submitted by Lanetta Cooper December 7, 2016, Prt.3 “You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. 7. Please provide documents in your possession, care, or control you are aware of that support your position that W/WW needs the level of reserves you have identified in No. 6 above. 8. Please identify each non rate-related revenue source you have. 9. For each source identified in No. 8 above, please provide the following: a) Description of the source; b) The amount budgeted for FY 2017; c) How the revenues realized from that source were incorporated into your cost of service. 10. What is the total capacity of water treatment W/WW has involving its water treatment plants currently; projected for FY 2017; projected for FY 2018; and projected for each FY over the next five years and over the next ten years?
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907 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/07/2016
Questions relating to W/WW Cost of Service Submitted by Lanetta Cooper December 7, 2016, Prt.4 “You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. 11. For the FY where the most recent data is available, what is the total amount of water treated on your peak day? On your peak hour day? 12. For each FY for the next ten years, please provide your estimates of water consumption during your peak day and during your peak hour. 13. In developing your peaking factors used to allocate costs, do you normalize the data for weather? Please explain. 14. How much reserve capacity do you have with your water treatment plants?
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908 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/07/2016
Questions relating to W/WW Cost of Service Submitted by Lanetta Cooper December 7, 2016, Prt.5 “You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. 15. In your response to Grant Rabon requested on 10/18/2016 you provided the peaking factors by customer class. However, the residential customers apparently list both residential customers residing within Austin’s city limits and residing outside Austin’s city limits. Please break down the peaking factors for the residential class by inside the city limits and outside the city limits relying upon the same data, if able, you relied upon in your response to Mr. Rabon.
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909 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/07/2016
Questions relating to W/WW Cost of Service Submitted by Lanetta Cooper December 7, 2016, Prt.6 “You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and c16. Please provide you estimated typical monthly water consumption for each of the following residential family sizes including water used for a washing machine but not for lawn irrigation: a. Single member household b. Two person household c. Four person household d. Six person household e. Eight person household f. Ten person household g. 16 person household 17. Please provide a copy of your chart of accounts. 18. Is your chart of accounts consistent with the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners’ Uniform System of Accounts? Please explain why or why not your onsultants
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912 Residential Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
Please explain how you developed your peaking factors for the residential class. In your explanation, please identify how the load research was developed including: the number of accounts used in the sample; how the sample was determined for sampling and for the accuracy of the sample to the whole customer class load characteristics.
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913 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
Please identify and list each cost you have identified as non-volume related in your COS the Public Involvement Committee (PIC) is reviewing. For each cost identified, please provide the following: a. Whether the cost is customer, meter, or fire b. What amount you identified for that cost; and c. How that cost was allocated among the customer classes. Please explain the allocation method used.
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914 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
1. What is the total number of CAP customer relied upon in the cost of service study the PIC is reviewing? 2. For those customers identified in no. 1, please provide the bill frequency distribution for the CAP customers for each FY identified in the load data provide the PIC. (By this I mean the number of bills at the different rate levels of consumption by month and by year.) (If the request calls for inconsistent data - that is CAP customer come and go, please provide the data based on the CAP customers for the relevant requested FYs data) 3. What research, if any, have you performed or been provided that explains any large water consumption for any of the CAP customers including: peak day and peak hour consumption, if possible. 4. How many CAP customers had a consumption level for any month of the fiscal year used for the COS that were in the third tier, in the fourth tier, in the fifth tier?
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915 All Classes Allocation Methodologies lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
1. How were, if any, extra capacity costs allocated to fire protection. Please explain why or why not extra capacity costs were allocated to fire protection. 2. How were the fire protection costs identified and quantified for the FY 2017 COS study the PIC is reviewing? 3. Please provide the load factors (base, extra day and extra hour) for fire protection for the three year interval studies for the FY 2016 COS and for the FY 2017 COS.
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916 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
Please provide the load assumptions for planning a residential subdivision and for a multifamily building. To the extent load assumptions include recognition of water appliance assumptions, home size assumptions, and land assumptions, please include an explanation of all assumptions relied upon in developing the load assumptions for planning.
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917 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
Please identify when the load assumptions for planning identified in the previous question were developed.
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918 All Classes Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
How were the capital and O&M costs relating to overhead and office costs for general plant executives and staff allocated in the FY 2017 COS
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919 All Classes Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
How were construction work in progress related costs allocated among the customer classes? In your answer, please explain the methodologies along with the supporting reasoning utilized for the cost allocations.
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920 All Classes Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/15/2016
1. Do you have any debt service costs relating to facilities that have been decommissioned and are no longer used and useful in providing service? 2. If the answer is yes, please identify each facility and for each facility provide the following: a. The total amount of debt and the annual debt service requirement. b. How the costs were allocated, if at all, among the customer classes and please explain the methodologies along with the supporting reasoning utilized for the cost allocations.
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921 All Classes Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
Submitted 9/27/16 via separate document. How should excess capacity be addressed?
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922 All Classes Cost Recovery Basis Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) Are the current rate designs reasonable and equitable? A. Do the rate designs include riders or surcharges? B. What are the policies behind the rate designs for each customer class and for each rider or surcharge that exist, if any? C. Are there differentials in rates based on geographic location? D. Fixed vs volumetric charges
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923 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) What conservation studies have been done to justify conservation rates adopted by COA? What are their results? What reports have been done to verify estimated amounts of water conservation occurring as a result of rate structures?
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924 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) Except for low income customers participating in bill discount programs, are residential customers treated alike in w/ww rates? A. Do some residential customers have more than one meter that affects their usage characteristics for purposes of billing-that is do customers avoid conservation high tier rates by having a 2nd meter? If this is so, how are these customers billed for their water consumption and for "customer costs". B. How are tenants in multi-family structures charged for water/wastewater? I. If LL charges tenants a monthly amount for water, is the system fair? How does COA monitor? What utility costs are involved in providing w/ww to these tenants? II. If tenants water usage is individually metered, are there some COS savings?
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925 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) What is the amount of water needed for families meeting basic needs?
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926 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) What is the amount of wastewater used for families meeting basic needs?
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927 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) What is the current low income bill discount program?
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931 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How consistent, if at all, is the w/ww reserve policies with AE's reserve policies? A. What are all of COA's reserves and what is the policy behind each reserve? B. Are nontraditional expenses such as specialized reserves considered O&M expenses for purposes of determining the needed level of COA reserves such as the amount needed for cash working capital?
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933 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How can we hold low income customers harmless for potential rate increases with the goal of maintaining affordability?
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934 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) Does the COA have any customers who are not either within the city limits of Austin or within the service territory of AE?
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935 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How does the water conservation program factor into rates? Into the cost of service?
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936 All Classes Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) What is the rage of alternate COS methodologies? A. How was the range determined? B. How were the COS methodologies relied upon by consultants for residential customer classes determined? (what kind of vetting process was used to ensure the consultants that are relied upon for COS methodologies represented residential customer class in rate cases?).
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937 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How are new service connections addressed in COS?
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938 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) What is the amount of capital investment that is used and useful?
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939 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How does COA relate its investment decisions to the used and useful regulatory standard-in other words, is the COA prudent in its investment decisions to ensure that it is not creating excess capacity? A. Is COA investment decisions driven by customer demand or by utility supply? i.) What is the long term and short term cost/benefit analysis of marketing and acquiring wholesale water contracts to retail base customers? Should a different COA approach be used to ensure retail base customers are not harmed? ii.) How does our current policy of entering into wholesale water contracts or serve retail customers outside our city limits affect: 1. Affordable housing 2. Environment 3. Sprawl and other growth concerns 4. How does this tie in to COS B. What should be the regulatory standard to determine whether an investment is a prudent utility decision? C. How should the effect on utility rates affect if at all an investment decision?
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940 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via Separate doc) continued from above... D. How should prudency be considered when an investment is proposed that is replacing a current investment not fully depreciated? E. Should COS and/or the rate effect that is related to the timing of the financial commitment to investment be considered? In other words, should some investments be deferred or fast tracked because of the COS and rate effects of the investments? Is this a component of prudency?
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941 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) Who can appeal a council decision on w/ww rates? A. What is the process? B. What is the regulatory standard applied by PUC on appeal? C. What is the status of customer refunds and/or surcharges should the PUC adjust the COA's revenue requirement and/or its COS on appeal?
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942 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How is debt accounted for? A. d/s coverage ratio i.) What are the bond covenant requirements ii.) What are the COA financial policy requirements iii.) How is the COA's bond covenant requirements related to the general fund transfer, if at all? B. debt/equity ratio
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943 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) How are grants and such other non-rate revenue infusions addressed in COS?
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944 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/19/2016
(Submitted 9/27/16 via separate doc) General fund transfer A. How is it considered in the COS? B. Should the current General Fund formula continue to apply to all revenues or should some revenues arising from certain costs be exempted because the costs incurred relate to the public good such as conservation lands or from costs related to excess capacity
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947 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/22/2016
(Question received via email on 12/22/16) You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. “PIC” means Public Involvement Committee. “COS” means cost of service. How do you derive your level of budgeted revenues for purposes of setting water and wastewater rates for the FY budget year? (In other words, what calculations, assumptions, formulas, and such other methods do you rely upon in deriving the amount of revenues you estimate will be realized during the budget FY). In your explanation, please address how the calculated revenues are normalized, if at all, for weather.
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948 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/22/2016
(Question received via email on 12/22/16) 2. Does the COA W/WW department have a fiscal policy(ies) relating to debt levels, including debt equity ratios? If so please list each such policy.
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949 All Classes Customer Demand Characteristics Marcia Stokes Submitted: 12/29/2016
COS Model and Cost Allocation: Please provide the external pivot table 'C:\Rates and Charges\COS\FY 2009-10 & COS Study\Water\[Meter Size Pivot.xlsx]Sheet1' which is referenced in the COS model provided under: spreadsheet “Water Option_01 Budget submittal, Characteristics worksheet, Table 58, Equivalent Meter schedule, Equivalent Fire Services Column. Also, explain the methodology and formula used for the overridden values of equivalent fire services for 8”, 10” and 12” meters changed May 7, 2012 by Michael Castillo.
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950 All Classes Allocation Methodologies Marcia Stokes Submitted: 12/29/2016
Cost allocation: Please provide by meter size and customer class, the number of fire demand aka fire service meters which are 8x2”FD, 10x2”FD and 12x2”FD. In addition, for each fire service meter size and class, please provide how many meters are within each DOMESTIC USE equivalent meter size of 2”,3”,4”,6”or 8”. DOMESTIC USE equivalent meter size can be found by retrieving the CRF (capital recovery fee) paid and reverse lookup the service units and corresponding equivalent meter size. For example in 2007, a fire demand meter with domestic use of 8 service units which is equivalent to a 2” PD meter paid a $5600 CRF in DDZ zone or $12000 in a DWPZ zone; 16 service units (3” meter equivalent) paid a $11,200 CRF (DDZ) or $24,000 CRF (DWPZ); 25 service units (4” meter equivalent) paid a $17,500 CRF (DDZ) or $37,500 CRF (DWPZ), 50 service units (6” meter equivalent) paid a $35,000 CRF (DDZ) or $75,000 CRF (DWPZ).
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951 All Classes General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 12/30/2016
“You” in these questions refer to Austin W/WW and its employees including the general manager, officers and consultants. “PIC” means Public Involvement Committee. “COS” means cost of service. “COA” means City of Austin. 1. How much O&M costs are related to the COA water utility’s transmission mains? 2. How are the O&M costs related to the COA water utility’s transmission mains allocated among the customer classes. In your response please include the $ amount of costs assigned to each customer class, the methodology(ies) the utility relied upon in allocating the O&M costs among the customer classes, and the FY the utility used for its data. 3. How much of the O&M costs identified in No. 1 above are attributable to the “extra capacity costs” incurred by the COA water utility? In other words if the transmission main was constructed and maintained to handle only “base capacity” usage, what O&M costs would be avoided?
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956 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 01/04/2017
Please provide the recently released 2017 Fitch medians report.
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965 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
For FY 2017 water utility COS, what was the amount of debt allocated to residential customers for the water utility?
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966 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
For FY 2017 water utility COS, what was the total amount of debt included in the water utility's COS?
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967 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
For FY 2017 wastewater utility COS, what was the amount of debt allocated to residential customers?
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968 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
For the FY 2017 wastewater utility COS, what was the amount of debt included in the utility's COS?
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969 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
What was the debt-service coverage ratio you relied upon for the FY 2017 water utility's COS? What was the debt-service coverage ratio you relied upon for the FY 2017 wastewater utility's COS?
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970 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
Please provide the billing frequencies for the CAP water utility customers for the following fiscal years: FY 2014; FY 2015; FY 2016; and FY 2017. Please provide the billing frequencies by the consumptions levels used to set the various tariffed rate levels for the residential customer class if possible.
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971 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
For the FY 2017 Reclaimed Water utility's COS, what was the amount of debt allocated to residential customers, if any? What was the debt-service coverage ratio you relied upon for the FY 2017 reclaimed water utility? In providing the answer, please do not include the estimated revenues transferred from the water utility and the wastewater utility in calculating the debt service coverage. Please identify the estimated revenues transferred from the water utility and from the wastewater utility for FY 2017.
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972 Residential Allocation Methodologies Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
According to our October 5, 2016 meeting, the Texas PUC disallowed Green Water treatment plant capital costs. According to COA answers to a request for information (Question 920) the COA has no outstanding debt service obligations for this plant. Is the Green Water treatment plant decommissioned? If so, how are the costs relating to the Green Water treatment plant to be addressed under a ROR methodology. Specifically include addressing whether the treatment plant will be listed as a capital asset for purposes of deriving a ROR.
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973 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
The December 13, 2016 report provided the W/WW PIC at p. 22 (slide No. 35) revealed that residential CAP customers had higher retail peaking factors. Please explain how the values were derived. In responding to this question please address how billings, if at all, were utilized in developing the peaking factors.
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974 Residential Customer Demand Characteristics Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
Without disclosing the identity of the customers please provide the workpapers relied upon by you in developing the peaking factors referred to in the previous question regarding CAP customer peaking factors.
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975 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
What research, if any, have you performed or received concerning water leaks involving your CAP customers? In your response, please provide any studies, reports, memos and such other written information prepared by or provided to you that address this issue.
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976 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
Your response to Question No. 900, p. 4 reveals that the reclaimed water utility had an estimated 370 days of cash on hand, higher than the estimated days of cash on hand for WW or for the water utilities. Since the reclaimed water utility is currently being subsidized by the w and ww utilities, please explain how the reclaimed water utility can have days of cash on hand - especially greater than the w or ww utilities' respective days of cash on hand.
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977 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
Please provide both the budgeted and the actual costs incurred related to your utility-wide allowance fund for the following FYs: FY 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
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978 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/09/2017
What is the status of the Austin Energy promised review of the utility billing system costs allocation that was to occur during FY 2017. (reference, your response to Question No. 840) If the review has been completed, please provide a copy of that review.
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979 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/16/2017
Please explain the inconsistencies in the levels of debt addressed in your answer to Question No. 942 and in your answer to Question No. 838. In addition to the timing (FY 2015 for Question No. 942 and FY 2016 for Question No. 838), please address whether different and/or additional source data were relied upon in deriving the different answers and what that source data were.
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980 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/16/2017
Please answer the following questions that derive from the 2017 Water and Sewer Medians report by Fitch ratings. In your responses please use data points, if possible, from the same time period. Please also identify the time period relied upon in your answers. In answering these questions, please rely upon the Fitch ratings report's definitions for their meaning. a. What is your water treatment capacity remaining (%)? b. What is your sewer treatment capacity remaining (%)? c. What is your age of plant (in years) involving the water utility? d. What is your age of plant (in years) involving the wastewater utility?
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981 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/16/2017
In your response to Question No. 865 you identify a bad debt expense (Account No. 6802) and a commission on debt (Account No. 6804). Please explain what is a commission on debt and how, if at all is it related to bad debt. In your explanation, please address whether you received revenues relating to a commission on debt expense, and if so, how those revenues were treated for COS purposes.
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982 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/16/2017
You refer to MHI in response to Question No. 833. You provide $ 67,831 for FY MHI for non-CAP customers. Please tell me the family size that you relied upon for developing your MHI non-CAP amount?
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983 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/16/2017
Please tell me the family size you relied upon for developing your MHI CAP amount ($ 54,265-adjusted for CPI inflation) in your response to Question No. 833.
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984 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/16/2017
Do you use a different income eligibility requirement than Austin Energy for your CAP customer bill discount program? If so,: a. What is your income eligibility requirement? b. How does Austin Energy implement that requirement?
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991 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 02/20/2017
We understand Austin Water has participated in the AWWA performance indicators survey (Benchmarking Performance Indicators for Water and Wastewater: 2016 Edition). As a participant, Austin Water should have been provided a custom report that shows Austin Water’s performance indicators against the aggregate data for all participating utilities in the same service category (water, wastewater, or combined systems). Please provide a copy of this report.
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992 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 02/24/2017
What is the credit rating goal, or target, desired by Austin Water (e.g., A, AA, AAA, etc.)?
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993 Residential General Cost of Service Lanetta Cooper Submitted: 02/27/2017
Please describe what steps if any W or WW has taken to obtain grants and such other beneficial funding (like low-interest loans) for infrastructure improvement and for water reclamation and re-use projects. In your response, please itemize the current grant programs and any current reduced funding programs.
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994 Wholesale Allocation Methodologies Howard Hagemann Submitted: 03/03/2017
In your formula for Class Max Day and Max Class Hour there is an Average Ay of Max Month and a System Average DAy of Max Month. What is the difference? Also, it was mentioned in one of the meetings that Austin Water currently uses a three year average. Is this for all factors in the formulas or only certain factors?
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997 Residential Allocation Methodologies Grant Rabon Submitted: 03/08/2017
Per the discussion at the March 6 PIC meeting, please provide the source documents used to develop the meter factors utilized in the water cost of service model to calculate the fixed charges by meter size (for those costs associated with meters).
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998 Multifamily General Cost of Service Marcia Stokes Submitted: 03/14/2017
Please provide the number of irrigation meters by size and class. What is the reasoning for charging fire protection on irrigation meters? Wouldn’t this result in a double charge, domestic meter plus irrigation meter? Are parks or golf courses with higher irrigation demands than building use treated differently?
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ID Class Topic Requestor Requestor Comments Response
819 All Classes Allocation Methodologies George Ross Submitted: 09/30/2016
In past years, the COA was sued by companies because the electric bills were not based on the cost of service. If the water rates are not based on the cost of service, it may be necessary to get a group together to file suit.
 
821 All Classes Customer Demand Characteristics Tim Altanero Submitted: 10/01/2016
Water has lost my trust and I'm sorry to say that. For the past 2 years or so I've encountered hugely inflated water bills - up to 5x and more of my usual monthly usage for one random month of the year (usually a summer month). When I complain, Water asks about leaks, says it will investigate, places the burden on me, and there's never a result to the investigation. As such, I cannot trust this utility and will do my utmost to convince the city council to investigate the utility over and over until it comes clean. Water can't just fleece us like this for a month and get away with it. And you know it's not just me - the abuses are widespread. Before any study can be done, we need to root out the corruption endemic in the institution and ensure transparency and honesty in service delivery. If it's not corruption, Water needs a thorough investigation of what causes
 
822 All Classes Customer Demand Characteristics P Poole Submitted: 10/01/2016
Now that lakes are full again why can't we water whenever yard needs it. The only thing that water restrictions do is drive up the cost of water. The same thing happens with electricity as more individuals put solar panels on it drives up the cost of energy for those who don't go solar. It was a draught when we get to 75% full lakes then implement the water restrictions.
 
825 Residential General Cost of Service C Black Submitted: 10/11/2016
Water rates charged 3 different times, water, wastewater, and solid waste. Look at other cities and see how they charge. A single person who works away from the home should not be billed for solid waste amounts for the water amount used. If you cook at home you use more water but if you are away from the home 50+ hours a week you are not flushing as often. Get it?
 
835 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 10/17/2016
We submit the following revenue requirement determinants to discuss in more detail via the PIC meetings: a. Financial reserves b. Debt funding for capital improvements c. Appropriate debt service coverage
 
841 Residential Cost Recovery Basis Michael Christopher Submitted: 10/22/2016
Water in Austin is prohibitively expensive. On average I pay more for my water than electric. It's a unfair burden. Part of the problem in my case, is that the rate structure unfairly penalizes larger families.
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842 Residential Cost Recovery Basis Barbara Szalay Submitted: 10/22/2016
Tiered rating punishes homeowners w/ larger lots, which provide pervious cover, critical to prevent flooding and environmental degradation. Greg Meszaros says not having a tiered rate structure rewards high water users--WRONG! Even under a flat rate/gallon, the more you use, the more you pay. Make the first 3000 gal free. But tiering to the extent the COA does is exorbitant & overly punitive. Moreover, Water Dept has proved incapable of correctly measuring usage from mth to mth. Meters are misread due to estimating/lies; mistakes;& inability to read due to dirt, cracking, water or inaccessibility. The Dept fought ag outside meter audits, preferring to focus on billing audit, knowing that area was much less likely to have flaws. As many as 5 percent of reads were in error! Inexcusable. A neighbor reported one month her usage read zero. Wait till the COA catches her up. Removing the tiers will allow meter read mistakes to continue, but will mitigate the harm to consumers.
 
856 Large Volume General Cost of Service JAY JOYCE Submitted: 10/24/2016
Industrial/Large Volume: Please reference page 25 of the October 5, 2016, PIC meeting Agenda and Backup document (Slides #39 and #40). In PUCT Docket No. 42857, AW spent over $1.3 million in legal and consulting fees in order to defend its positions before the PUCT and convince the PUCT of the validity of its costs: • Developing and filing with the PUCT over 8,000 pages of pre-filed AW direct testimony • Developing and filing with the PUCT over 1,900 pages of pre-filed AW rebuttal testimony • Cross-examination of witnesses for Wholesale Customers • Cross-examination of witnesses for PUCT Staff • Filing closing arguments at PUCT • Filing responses to other parties’ closing arguments • Filing exceptions to the judges’ Proposal for Decision • Filing replies to other parties’ exceptions to the judges’ Proposal for Decision • Presenting oral arguments to the PUCT Commissioners • Filing a Motion for Rehearing
 
872 All Classes General Cost of Service Elizabeth Maril Submitted: 10/24/2016
The impervious cover charge is punishing older folks who have downsized to small homes and lots.
 
882 All Classes General Cost of Service Marcia Stokes Submitted: 10/27/2016
For comparative purposes, I would like to submit the 2016 water and wastewater rates for Texas cities compiled by the Texas Municipal League's survey. Water and wastewater rates are listed separately and grouped by population. Austin did participate in the survey. Summaries are followed by city detail for residential and commercial use. Website is: http://www.tml.org/surveys
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883 Residential General Cost of Service Barbara Szalay Submitted: 11/03/2016
I may have already commented, but I say, "End the punitive tiered rate structure." Greg Meszaros says having a flat rate per gallon would reward high water users, but it wouldn't. It would be fair & equable. If you use twice as much water you may twice as much. I've no problem with making the first 3000 gallons or whatever free. The current schedule punishes folks with large lots, who are providing Austin with lots of pervious cover, thereby preventing flooding & erosion. also end the transfers of excess utilities collections to General Revenue. Utilities should only charge for the product, delivery, infrastructure, & maintenance, plus a reasonable cushion.
 
892 Large Volume Legal Daniel Wilcox Submitted: 11/29/2016
Cost Allocation - Peaking Factors. Current AW methodology uses monthly customer bills to determine peak month, then allocates customer peak based on AW plant day and hour load. The AW plant load represents the residential and multi-family class usage profile since they are 90%+ of the system load. Residential and multifamily usage profile is based on very high peak usage early in the morning, then again in evening. This usage profile requires water system infrastructure such as pumping capacity, larger distribution mains and laterals, storage tanks, and pumping stations to accommodate the peak demands. Industrial Customers have very stable hour to hour, day to day, and month to month usage. This can be verified with customer continuous flow data which all 8 Industrial customers can provide. Customer Allocation for Peaking factors should be reduced for Industrial Customer class based on these arguments.
 
893 Large Volume Legal Daniel Wilcox Submitted: 11/29/2016
Cost Allocations - Peaking Factors. Residential and multi-family customer class usage is driven by seasonal irrigation. This is known to be 3-4 times the base residential and multifamily usage during irrigation seasons. This usage profile requires water system infrastructure such as pumping capacity, larger distribution mains and laterals, storage tanks, and pumping stations to accommodate the seasonal irrigation demand. Industrial Customer seasonal irrigation demand is very low compare to the base demand. • Customer Allocation for Peaking factors should be reduced for Industrial Customer class based on these arguments.
 
894 Large Volume Legal Daniel Wilcox Submitted: 11/29/2016
•Infiltration and Inflow •Current AW methodology allocated Wastewater Infiltration and Inflow based on a even distribution of the costs over all customer classes. This is based on the fact that AW considers I&I as a system cost. Based on the 1972 Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, USEPA has issued guidelines that state that Infiltration and Inflow can be determined using the following criteria: •Contributed wastewater volumes. These are estimates of the contributions of wastewater from the customer’s premises. For residential customers, contributed wastewater volumes may be estimated from average winter water consumption. Other techniques may be available for other customer classes. •Number of connections. Under this approach, I/I is attributed to customer classes based on the number of connections each class has within the wastewater system. •Land Area. Since I/I is often introduced into the collection system, and the ultimate length
 
895 Large Volume Legal Daniel Wilcox Submitted: 11/29/2016
Infiltration and Inflow (continued) •Based on the USEPA issued guidelines on Infiltration and Inflow the number of connections and land area that services that industrial customer class is very low compared to the land area and distribution network of piping and connections that services the residential and multi-family class. Therefore, the area of the required piping distribution network and corresponding number of connection points or "leak points" for the residential and multifamily class should determine a much higher customer allocation for residential and multifamily customers compared to industrial customers. Industrial customers are located directly on or very close to the main distribution piping and therefore have a lower chance of I&I associated with leak points.
 
897 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 12/01/2016
Per our discussion at the PIC meeting on 11/29/16, I am formally indicating my strong belief that Austin Water should pursue the inclusion of previously disallowed costs into the revenue requirement allocated to wholesale customers. The only exception to this general statement would be if Austin Water opts to utilize the utility basis for these customers (which I support) and, then, Austin Water could exclude only those disallowed costs that are inconsistent with, or inappropriate for, inclusion under the utility basis. Although I will not attempt to speak for the other members of the PIC, this seemed to be the general consensus of the PIC members (perhaps unanimously).
 
898 Residential General Cost of Service Grant Rabon Submitted: 12/01/2016
Consistent with my comments at the 11/29/16 PIC meeting, I feel strongly that Austin Water should develop its test year revenue requirement based on actual financial results for a fiscal year (rather than starting with a budget). Austin Water can then endeavor to make known and measurable adjustments to this historical financial result as appropriate in the development of its test year. This is the best means to ensure appropriate and necessary costs are used to develop the test year and would be much better received (if not required) by the PUCT should Austin Water need to defend its rates in that venue.
 
901 Residential General Cost of Service Barbara Szalay Submitted: 12/01/2016
Enjoyed meeting Grant Rabon at Lost Creek Civic Organization tonight. Sorry for typos in earlier comment. Hard to edit in this box or even proofread response. My comment is Austin Water should eliminate the General Fund Transfer as Ellen Troxclair advocates. This would save 40+ million a year and AW could reduce its tiered rates accordingly. If the COA really needs some of that money, tax us. At least then we could deduct that on our federal tax forms. You can't deduct excessive water bills.
 
902 All Classes General Cost of Service Austin Water Submitted: 12/02/2016
The attached document was received as an email from an Austin Water Customer. The letter gives comments and suggestions for Austin Water to consider.
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910 Multifamily General Cost of Service Chuck Loy Submitted: 12/14/2016
The multi-family recommends the outside rates be determined by the utility method. For two reasons. 1) it is a method that the Texas PUC is most familiar with and understands and 2) it will allow for some flexibility with the Rate Of Return to cover any subsidies that could occur as a result of the recent PUC case.
 
945 All Classes General Cost of Service Marcia Stokes Submitted: 12/19/2016
I agree with previous comments by residential rate advocate and multifamily PIC rep that the utility basis be used for wholesale and outside city customers while inside city remain cost basis. The 2008 COS study addressed this in issue paper #1 revenue requirements, utility basis with cash residual. The stated cons to this approach still exist: “the use of an externally generated rate of return may not necessarily generate the cash needs of the utility”. Second, “an additional burden is placed on the utility basis with cash residual to track the rate base with greater precision to properly categorize assets as inside or outside the City. These data requirements also impact the risk of implementation.” I would expect the executive team to choose the best financial alternative for Austin ‘shareholders’ of the utility.
 
946 Multifamily General Cost of Service Marcia Stokes Submitted: 12/19/2016
Regarding question 924 part B and tenants in multifamily structures, refer to Texas Water Code Chapter 13 Subchapter M and PUC Chapter 24 Rules Subchapter H for apartment water utility billing and submeter versus allocation. Excellent information is available at the PUC website puc.texas.gov. Look under industry, far right column water and multifamily dwellings. Under the same column is the water utility database. In the Water Utility Field, input the multifamily property name and/or submeter/allocation for ownership type and/or county to find registered method of utility billing.
 
955 Residential General Cost of Service Paul Scripko Submitted: 01/04/2017
In advance of the Utility's Cost of Service public forum, allow me to comment via email. Please ensure that residents - consumers that are renters and homeowners - are not given a rate increase while commercial and business customers are given breaks on their rates. Water is an increasingly precious resource for which that all stakeholders in the region must pay. Too often in Austin, in the name of "economic development" it is the little guys that are asked to bear rate increases while businesses are given special pricing consideration. Austin's reputation as the best place in the nation to set up a business indicates to me that we do not need to continue along this path, saddling homeowners and renters with the burden of subsidizing commercial and business enterprises.
 
957 Residential General Cost of Service Davy Bridges Submitted: 01/04/2017
I'd really like to see water rates go DOWN for a change even though I know the likelihood of that happening is not promising. I live in an aprtment, am out of town most weekends, spend some nights at my bf's, and wash dishes once a week. Idk how that totals $50+ each month but it's not okay
 
958 Multifamily Cost Recovery Basis Marcia Stokes Submitted: 01/05/2017
As discussed in the 12/13/16 PIC meeting, I recommend a new meter designation instead of a small multifamily class to address the current inequity for customers with fire demand meters that serve both domestic and fire needs. This inequity which is greater in small multifamily customers was a consequence of the last COS study that shifted more cost recovery from volume to fixed charges. Since meter size is used to determine cost allocations for minimum fixed charges and fire protection, it is necessary to separate domestic and fire capacity to be fair and reasonable. Fire service meters are an alternative to a dedicated fire line for minimum fire protection, i.e. fire hydrants and do not have a higher indirect cost than a dedicated fire line. Fire demand meter customers exist in all classes except residential and correcting only multifamily might create additional inequity claims. Additional info including proposed options has been submitted in a separate document for review.
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959 Residential Cost Recovery Basis Susan Pantell Submitted: 01/05/2017
It is important to keep the tiered rate structure to encourage conservation. In addition, lower income people tend to be lower users, and we should aim to have bills that are as low as possible for low and moderate income people. To that end, the Water Department should improve programs for conservation and reuse at multi-family facilities. If the cost of service is lower for multi-family than for single family units, that should be reflected in the water bills.
 
960 Wholesale Allocation Methodologies Jay Joyce Submitted: 01/10/2017
Representing Wells Branch, N. Austin, and North Town MUDs and WD 10: Given the lack of information on how rates will be calculated, we have no position at this time regarding changing methods from cash to utility basis; however, we would note that changing methods will result in massive rate case expenses for both sides.
 
985 Multifamily Allocation Methodologies Marcia Stokes Submitted: 02/17/2017
After the last meeting, I mentioned to David Anders and Joseph Gonzales that I wanted to discuss fire charges during cost allocation and how to go about getting handouts distributed. I have attached a 5-page file that I would like to use during that discussion. Can you provide copies to PIC members when this topic is covered and let me know when? I will bring a PDF file on flash drive to the meeting that contains additional slides for use in the discussion. I’d like to hear from the consultants instead of just posting comments. Some of my concerns are listed below. -Meter charge and ratios: Appears some tweaking going on after COS to get actual rates Is the goal to provide a subsidy to 5/8” meters? What is the methodology? -Fire charge & Ratios Same tweaking going on after COS to get actual rate Ratio volume data is over 10 years old.
 
990 Multifamily Allocation Methodologies Marcia Stokes Submitted: 02/17/2017
(cont.) -Why a higher ratio would be used to allocate fire hydrant costs when hydrants are more a funct. of location than capacity. Hydrants don’t come in capacity sizes like meters and placement has more to do with location than structure size or water vol needs. 62% of fire charges are for hydrants, the rest is dist mains. Most of pipe oversizing costs are passed through base/extra capacity cost allocation which uses AWWA meter ratios. -Also should irrigation meters pay fire hydrant fees and/or their volume be used in hydrant cost allocation? -Private Hydrants. Misperception that private hydrant implies higher fire demand. More a function of location. 27% of hydrants are private. Why should private hydrants pay an admin PFH fee in addition to public hydrants cost. -At a minimum, 100% of private hydrant fees should be credited to fire cost and NOT distributed across all cost categories. -Fire Demand Meters Fire charges should be based on domestic meter equivalents.
 
995 Multifamily Allocation Methodologies Marcia Stokes Submitted: 03/07/2017
All Classes: Fire Allocation: If meter size and historical volume by meter size continue to be the basis for allocation of fire protection charges, then the historical volume data should be the same 3-year rolling period used for peak day calculations. Irrigation meters should not be charged fire protection fees.
 
996 Multifamily Allocation Methodologies Marcia Stokes Submitted: 03/07/2017
All classes: Non-rate Revenue allocation: Since the COS model separates meter charges and fire protection charges and uses different meter ratios/multipliers/equivalent meters when allocating those costs, fees collected specific to those cost categories should be credited to those categories 100% and not distributed across all categories. Specific fees in question are Private hydrant fees ($169,900) and Meter Rev-Fire Meters ($27,900). Using the current allocation of 1.7%, Fire Protection is allocated a total of $58,478 of non-rate revenue although $169,900 in private hydrant fees was collected which is specific to fire protection. If Meter Rev-Fire Meters is for the use of fire hydrants for water during construction, then it should also be allocated 100% to fire protection. Reference tables 112 and 113: Non-rate revenue and allocation in COS Model