DC Water Announces Schedule of Virtual Town Hall Meetings

June 04, 2020

DC Water announced today a schedule for town hall meetings with residents in all 8 wards, and for the first time the meetings will be held remotely for the safety of participants, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The meetings will be co-hosted by DC Water CEO David Gadis and the District’s eight ward council members in June and July.

“We really wish we could be interacting with our customers face-to-face as we typically do during our rate setting process,” said Mr. Gadis. “However, we don’t want to put anyone at risk unnecessarily, and I’m confident we can still have a meaningful conversation even if we have to connect remotely.”

The town hall meetings provide customers an opportunity to learn about the water authority’s proposed rates and fees for the next two years while allowing the public to share concerns, comments and ideas. Any changes in rates must be approved by the DC Water Board of Directors and would take effect at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

Under the proposed rates and fees, the average household increase will be about 6.6% this October and 6.7% in a year. DC Water had previously estimated that these increases would be higher (8.1% in FY2021 and 6.9% in FY2022), but we refinanced some of our debt and controlled the growth of operating costs. We also plan to make withdrawals from the Rate Stabilization Fund over the next two years to benefit our customers.

The proposed rate increases will allow us to:

• Fully fund the Clean Rivers Program;
• Double our investment in water and sewer infrastructure by FY 2022 to reach a one percent each year, reducing the risk of system failures;
• Increase funds for fleet purchases to ensure crews have the equipment they need;
• Invest in the Apprenticeship Program to support fifteen entry level positions;
• Make the Customer Assistance Program Two (CAP2) program permanent and expand Customer Assistance Program (CAP) benefits (Customers who are eligible for CAP could see their bills decrease next year); and
• Continue to operate the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant and meet permit requirements, improving water quality and protecting our environment.

All customers will see an increase in their bills. Customers should go to https://serviceinfo.dcwater.com/comparison to estimate the impact the proposed rates will have on them. The proposed rates continue the “shift” of Clean Rivers program costs from the impervious area charge to the volumetric rate that began this year. There is also a proposed adjustment to the metering fee.

DC Water continues to work to increase transparency regarding its ratemaking. For more information, please see www.dcwater.com/ratemaking-process.

The public meetings will begin June 23 in Ward 2 and run through mid-July when the final meeting is held in Ward 6. All meetings are being held online utilizing the Microsoft Teams virtual meeting platform. In addition, DC Water will call residential customers in each ward and invite them to join the conversation.

The full schedule of meetings, all of which begin at 6:30 pm, is below:

Ward 2 Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, June 23
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward2TownHall

Ward 1 Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, June 24
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward1TownHall

Ward 3 Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, June 25
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward3TownHall

Ward 4 Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, June 30
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward4TownHall

Ward 5 Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, July 1
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward5TownHall

Ward 7 Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, July 7
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward7TownHall

Ward 8 Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, July 14
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward8TownHall

Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, July 15
To join the meeting, visit https://dcwater.com/Ward6TownHall

If you cannot make it to the meeting for your Ward, please feel free to attend any of the other meetings, as much of the same information will be shared. For more information about all of the meetings, please visit dcwater.com/rates.

Following the Town Hall Meetings, the proposed rates will be the subject of a public hearing before the Board of Directors on Wednesday, August 5 at 6:30 pm. If you are not able to participate in the meetings, you can submit comments on the rate proposals at lmanley@dcwater.com.