Understanding Utilities Rate Changes in 2022

The City Council recently approved changes to water, sewer, and stormwater rates in IGH, which will mean modest increases to utility bills in 2022. Here is a guide to understanding these changes, and what is driving them.

  1.    Water & Sewer Rate FAQs
  2.   Stormwater Rate FAQs
  3.    What to Expect on Your Bill

What costs are covered by water and sewer utilities fees?

Water and sewer utility fees charged by the city not only cover the costs of the water actually used by your household. These fees also pay for the costs of operating our water treatment facilities and systems, including staff time and training, and repair and maintenance expenses. The city is home to 160 miles of water mains, 1600 fire hydrants and 10 million gallons of treated water in storage. That’s a lot to maintain!

Current challenges:

Aging Water System

Our water treatment facility began operating in 1998. As our water system ages, the costs of maintaining it increase until, eventually, the system will reach the end of its lifespan and will need to be repaired or replaced. Preparing for the depreciation of long-term city assets like our water system requires careful planning and the setting aside of funds to maintain it. Maintaining a system is usually more effective than deferring maintenance until an emergency occurs and must be immediately fixed. This is more costly.

As part of the city’s long-term planning process, staff looks at whether we are saving enough to cover both current and future infrastructure maintenance costs. If utilities maintenance costs are under-funded, the city considers modest rate increases to make up the difference.

Increased Fees for Treatment of Wastewater

Another challenge that IGH must address in 2022 is a recent increase to the fee that the city is charged by the Metropolitan Council for the treatment of IGH wastewater. For every thousand gallons of water used by residents of IGH, the city pays a fee. If the Metropolitan Council raises the rates it charges for water treatment, local municipalities must either absorb that additional expense or pass it on to the residents and business owners who use city water and sewer services by raising water and sewer utility rates. 

How will water and sewer rates change?

Water utility bills will reflect a 2% increase. Sanitary Sewer bills will reflect a 5% increase. Properties in the northwest area will have a $2.00 per 1000 gallons surcharge added to the sewer portion of their bill. The effective date for these increases will be the first billing period that contains only 2022 usage. For more info, view the "What to Expect on Your Bill" tab above.

How do I benefit from this rate increase?

Maintaining our water system now saves greater expense down the road, and it helps ensure that we continue to offer a safe water supply and reliable infrastructure to residents and businesses as the city grows.

What if I need assistance paying my bill?

There are resources available to residents experiencing financial hardship and need assistance with their utilities bills.

  • Community Action Partnership (CAP) Agency’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps eligible households within Scott, Carver and Dakota Counties with energy bill payment assistance, home energy crisis intervention, outreach, energy advocacy, information about utility consumer rights, and referrals. Visit CAP's Website to learn more about eligibility and applying for the program or call 651-322-3500.
  • Minn. Dept. of Commerce - Energy Assistance Program helps pay for home heating and water costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. Learn more and see if you qualify at: Energy Assistance Program / Minnesota.gov (mn.gov)

Other Energy Assistance Programs to help reduce your energy bill:

  • Energy CENTS Coalition's mission is to promote affordable utility service for low and fixed income households, to ensure the basic necessity of energy to all citizens, and to encourage the participation of low and fixed income citizens in energy issues and energy related decision-making. Learn more at: https://energycents.org/.
  • CenterPoint Energy Income-Qualified Programs include a multi-family building efficiency program, multi-family bonus rebates, low income heating system tune-ups and non-profit affordable housing rebates. Learn more: www.centerpointenergy.com/.
  • Dakota County Community Development Agency - Weatherization Assistance Program is administered as a joint effort between the CAP Agency and the CDAWeatherization services will permanently reduce energy bills by helping to make your home more energy efficient. The program provides income qualified homeowners in Carver, Dakota and Scott Counties with a grant to assist with making their home more energy efficient. Learn more: https://www.dakotacda.org/housing-resources/homeownership/weatherization-energy-efficiency/.
  • Having a home energy assessment is a great way to learn about how your home uses energy, and find ways to reduce costs and improve comfort year round. Free* assessments are available to income-qualified households in Dakota County. Home Energy Squad® is jointly offered to Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy customers, the Home Energy Squad helps you learn about energy-saving opportunities in your home and installs certain energy-saving materials on the spot for no extra cost. Both homeowners and renters are eligible. Visit HomeEnergySquad.net or call (866) 222-4595. 

*Households must meet income-qualifications set by program to be eligible for no-cost energy assessment. Contact your utility provider to see if you qualify. 

What if I have more questions? 

Should you have a question about your water or sewer utility bill, please contact City Hall at 651-450-2500 and staff will happily assist you.