Upcoming Decatur Utilities price hike not related to WMEL water contamination controversy

by Shevaun Bryan, originally posted on July 28, 2016


DECATUR, Ala. – Decatur Utilities (DU) customers will soon see an access charge increase on their bills.

But does it have anything to do with recent events surrounding chemicals in water from the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority? Officials say no.

“This is not connected in any way to the issues or questions about PFOS in the water downstream,” explained Decatur Mayor Don Kyle. “It’s strictly a management-oriented correction in the way Decatur Utilities bills.”

The mayor, and Decatur Utilities spokesman Joe Holmes, tell WHNT News 19 the price hike is the last adjustment to increases spread out over months.

DU explains in a release saying:

‘The upcoming October 1 increase ($2 for 5/8” residential meters and $1 for 1 inch residential meters) was approved by the DU board and Decatur City Council in April of 2015 as part of a series of incremental increases that move DU closer to a “service delivery model.”This allows us to recoup more of our fixed operations and maintenance costs in the flat monthly customer access charge with less susceptibility to seasonal fluctuations in revenue. The increases in the customer access charge were spread out over several months. October marks the final adjustment from the overall increases approved in April 2015.’

Mayor Kyle explains the increase will cover fixed costs so customers’ bills are more stable month to month, and less subject to seasonal fluctuation.

DU was recently recognized for the quality of their water and wastewater treatment plants and were recently notified that they continue to achieve all goals set forth by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

WMEL is still purchasing water from DU, but DU officials emphasize that their billing is unaffected by that transaction, and by WMEL’s water concerns.

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