Bulletin on Water Meter Rates and Regulations
“Water Meter Rates and Regulations” is the title of the latest booklet or bulletin issued by the Buffalo Meter Company, of Buffalo, N. Y., and which contains much matter of real interest and value to those interested in water works. The elements of a meter rate are explained under the following heads: Fixed expenses, new equipment expenses, operating expenses, profit desired, sources of revenue exclusive of water sold, annual quantity of water pumped, pertages of water non-productive or unaccounted for. The bulletin also includes a table of high and low meter rates of 709 water works in the United States and Canada and a list of meter regulations. Under the head of Sources of Revenue Exclusive of Water Sold the bulletin says: . “This deserves careful study as it introduces the question of what proportion of the expenses fire protection should pay. Where laws do not permit a municipal water works to charge for fire protection or other water service the cost must be paid by increasing the charge to the private consumers. This is not fair as some premises receiving fire protection may not be water consumers, and others having much property use very little water. Hydrant rentals or fire protection costs should be paid out of the general tax levy, because the benefit of fire protection to the taxpayers is about in proportion to taxable value of property. Good authorities on the subject recommend the following as one way of determining fire protection chaiges: (1) Estimate the cost of constructing a water works sufficient for fire protection only. (2) Estimate the cost of constructing a water works sufficient for all purposes except fire protection. (3) Add 1 and 2 and the proportion each is of the total is the proportion of the ‘fixed expenses’ and ‘new equipment expenses’ (see table) chargeable to each. (4) Estimate the operating expenses’ including ‘profit’ necessary to maintain fire protection. (5) Estimate the’“operating expenses’ including ‘profit’ necessary to supply all other uses. (6) Add 4 and 5 and the proportion each is of the total is the proportion of ‘operating expenses’ and ‘profit’ chargeable to each. These calculations will usually show from twenty-five per cent, to sixty per cent, of ‘fixed expenses,’ ‘new equipment expenses,’ ‘operating expenses’ and ‘profit’ chargeable to fire protection. As a rule, the larger the plant the lower the percentage of fire protection cost.” In speaking of percentage of water non-productive or unaccounted for the bulletin says: “A study of the items under this heading reveals that from five per cent, to fifty per cent, of water supplied by water works producers no revenue. In case reliable data or estimates of these items are not available a water works may consider that with no free services it may receive pay for seventy-five per cent, of water supplied and sixty-five per cent, if there is free public use” and adds. “It is customary to establish the price for metered water per 1,000 gallons, or per 100 cubic feet. There is a difference of opinion as to which is preferable, but since the gallon is the universal unit of liquid measurement in this county there is no reason for using a special unit such as the cubic foot when selling water. The average consumer has a more definite idea of what he is getting when the bill reads 1,000 gallons than if it reads 133 cubic feet. It is certainly a good policy to have the meter rate and the meter dial in the same unit of measurement.” In commenting on the rates of 709 water works the bulletin points out that the value of the information lies in the opportunity to compare a new rate and thus be assured that it is within the bounds of general practice; that the rates were collected partly from the tables of the Rate Committee of the American Water Works Association and the Canadian Commission of Conservation and that the average of the highest rates per 1,000 U. S. gallons is 27 cents and of the lowest rates 11 cents. The average of the highest rates per 1,000 Imperial gallons is 30 cents and of the lowest rates 16 cents.