Dear Utilities, Inc. of Florida Customers,
As you may be aware, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved our request for a consolidated, uniform rate structure across the state, much like the gas and electric companies have used for many years.
The consolidated rates that were approved on August 3 will result in very competitive rates across all our systems. In the long run, the costs of operating our water and wastewater systems will be spread across a much larger customer base, which will allow us to make prudent infrastructure investments that will be needed in every community we serve without causing wide fluctuations in rates in future rate cases. Importantly, the consolidated rate structure also assures a significant reduction in “rate case expense” – the cost of multiple filings, hearings and associated expenses incurred whenever a rate change is proposed in the future.
This new rate structure allows us to lead the way in assuring our customers that we will have the infrastructure in place that is necessary for us to provide excellent service for decades to come. Our focus continues to be on providing safe and reliable water supply and the highest quality wastewater service possible. We continue to pursue ways to more cost effectively deliver our services while remaining compliant with environmental regulations and providing a safe workplace for our staff.
Should you have questions regarding this change in rates or any other topic, please contact Customer Service toll-free at (866) 842-8432.
Utilities Inc. of Florida
UIF Rate Change Frequently Asked Questions:
Why are you changing rates?
- We have the responsibility to upgrade our infrastructure and make necessary improvements to guarantee continued quality service.
- We also must comply with changing state and federal environmental regulations.
- We must maintain a safe working environment for our employees.
- We have spent more than $100 million in improvements throughout our Florida systems in the last 10 years.
- $36 million spent in 2016-17 is not included in your old rates.
What is the condition of Florida systems?
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Florida utilities will need to spend about $16.5 billion in drinking water infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years in order to provide drinking water reliably.
- Similar investment will also be required in our wastewater systems.
How about at UIF?
- We face the same challenges and have the same obligations as other water and sewer utilities.
- Many of our communities and systems were developed over 40 years ago; the original infrastructure in these systems is nearing the end of its useful life and must be replaced before failing.
- We have the challenge of meeting new or more stringent EPA and state regulations.
What will you do with the money?
- The additional revenue will fund the cost of projects that have already been completed!
- The new rates help pay for the significant investment already paid to replace equipment that had reached the end of its service life.
- Until 2017, the PSC did not allow the utility to establish a reserve fund to pay for future capital projects. Rates are revised after or concurrently with projects being constructed.
- For example,
- we will soon complete a $12 million project to replace aging water main piping in many of our systems in Seminole, Orange, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
- We have completed wastewater collection system improvements in multiple locations;
- we upgraded electrical and instrumentation equipment at various water and wastewater treatment plants,
- we relocated facilities impacted by state and county highway improvement projects in five systems.
Why are my rates going up and others going down?
- We are putting all of our customers on equal footing by establishing common rates for water and sewer services.
- The costs of operating our water and wastewater systems will be spread across a much larger customer base and will likely result in smaller incremental rate increases in the future.
- Many of our operating costs are already shared by all systems.
- Our new consolidated rates are very competitive with others across the state.
You already make so much money, why do you need more?
- We must have the opportunity to earn our allowed return on investment to continue to attract the capital needed to fund projects in the future.
- The Commission in no way “guarantees” us a specific rate of return.
- The PSC only offers the utility an “opportunity” to earn an “allowed” rate based on the PSC’s analysis of our financials and consistent with the “allowed” return offered to other water and sewer utilities regulated by the PSC.
- Our rate of return on equity routinely is well below the allowed return of 10.4%.
- Our current rates are not adequate to cover our total cost of providing service.
Please click here for some helpful Water Conservation Tips
Lake Utilities Service Customer Notice
To our Utilities Inc. of Florida – Lake Utility Services Reclaimed Water Customers:
As a result of the rain deficit this year in the State of Florida, the Utility has implemented the following irrigation schedule for those customers that use reclaimed water for irrigation purposes. Reclaimed water service will only be available during the days and hours identified below. During all other times the reclaimed water system will be shut down. Until such time as the rainy season begins this schedule will remain in place.
Wednesday – 12:00am to 10:00am – 5:00pm to 11:59pm
Thursday – 12:00am to 10:00am – 5:00pm to 11:59pm
Saturday – 12:00am to 10:00am – 5:00pm to 11:59pm
Sunday – 12:00am to 10:00am – 5:00pm to 11:59pm
This schedule is structured similar to the current watering restriction schedule imposed by the St. Johns River Water Management District (the District) for the use of potable irrigation. For more information on the District’s watering restrictions please refer to; http://www.sjrwmd.com/wateringrestrictions/