Business water-rates to jump 18% in two years

Businesses are likely to see their water bills increase 8.6 percent during 2013 and again in 2014, and as much as 5 percent in 2015 as Colorado Springs Utilities seeks to offset costs for the mammoth Southern Delivery System.

Residential rates are likely to increase as much as 10 percent during 2013 and 2014 and 5 percent in 2015.

City Council already approved a 12-percent average rate increase for businesses and residents in 2012.

Council will vote tomorrow about whether to hold a public hearing June 26 for the proposed additional increases.

The hikes were anticipated to be even higher and be instituted for five consecutive years.

“These are much, much lower than we thought,” said Bill Cherrier, Utilities’ chief planning and finance officer. “That’s because we have saved money through lower borrowing costs and through other efficiencies.”

Cherrier said the increases are vital.

“This sends a signal to the bond holders and lenders that we have a steady way to pay for this project, that we’re committed to it,” he said. “Without it, we might have to pay higher borrowing costs.”