Ratemaking Process

The Board’s Strategic Plan and 10-year financial plan provide the framework for the formulation, prioritization, implementation and monitoring of the annual budget process.

The annual budget process typically begins with planning in June and official kickoff in July of each year for the Operating and Capital Budgets. Plans and budgets are prepared at an appropriate level of detail for each management level. Assumptions inherent in the plans and budgets reflect the entity's historical experience, current conditions and Executive Team’s directives. Once decisions are finalized for the operating and capital budgets, management develops the financial plan and rate model including various scenarios to ensure a balanced budget for recovery of costs. Further review is undertaken with independent consultants including benchmarking our proposed rates with peers in the industry. DC Water develops two-year rate proposals. The benefits of multi-year rates include greater revenue certainty, increased budget discipline and better alignment between revenues and expenditures.

The proposed budgets are finalized during the fall of each year, and introduced to the Board during the Budget Workshop typically in January. The Committees then submit their recommendations to the full Board for adoption and DC Water’s adopted budget is included in the District of Columbia’s budget submission to U.S. Congress.

DC Water’s adopted budget and proposed rates are communicated via various news and media outlets as well as town hall meetings in each ward and a public hearing to provide customers the opportunity to comment on the changes. Once the budgets are appropriated by Congress and the final rates approved by the Board, they become effective on October 1st of each year.