Over the past few days, Pueblo West Metropolitan District has received dozens of phone calls and messages via social media regarding higher than expected water bills from the last billing cycle. Pueblo West wants to assure our customers that we understand your concerns and are taking this situation seriously.

Our staff has analyzed our system in search of errors and found that the system is operating correctly. The Pueblo West Utilities Department does not charge people for water breaks on water mains or connecting service lines under the street. Customers are only charged for water that flows through the meter on their property. The meters only function when water runs through the meter. When water flows, the dials move and record the consumption. If water is not flowing, the meter is not recording. Meters are read via a radio frequency with a technology called ‘automatic meter reading’ (AMR), much like electric and gas bills. This ensures there is no room for human error. The AMR radio frequency reading system uses unique identification numbers on each individual meter making it impossible to mix up a meter.

Pueblo West Utilities Department billing cycles are based on meter reads that start approximately the 10th or 11th of each month and read through the 10th or 11th of the following month. This past billing period started on June 8 and ran to July 10, thus making for two extra days on customers’ bills.

Water bills are determined by the recorded gallons of consumption. The consumption is tiered the following way:

Consumption (in gallons) Residential Rate (per each thousand gallons consumed)
0 – 5,000 $2.01 per each thousand gallons consumed
5,001 – 10,000 $3.02 per each thousand gallons consumed
10,001 and above $5.28 per each thousand gallons consumed

This means that if a customer has 12,000 gallons of consumption during a billing period, they are billed at $2.01 per thousand gallons consumed up to 5,000 gallons, then gallons between 5,001 and 10,000 are billed at $3.02 per thousand gallons consumed, and then the additional 2,000 gallons are billed at $5.28 per each thousand gallons consumed. A customer with 12,000 gallons consumed does not get billed at the highest tier for all 12,000 gallons. Rather, their consumption is divided into 5,000 sections and charged at the corresponding rate as stated in the chart above.

Pueblo West Utilities Department believes the higher bills are a result of a period of warmer and drier weather that resulted in higher usage as compared to other periods this year. In addition, the wet parade was during this billing period, thus resulting in a higher consumption rate among some customers who participated. The average temperature during this past billing cycle was 90 degrees with 23 days over 90 and two days over 100 degrees and very little measurable rain. Pueblo West has had an unusually wet summer with the exception of a three week period at the end of June and early July. This three week period falls within the current billing cycle. Consumption also increases in the summer months as more customers run swamp coolers, fill swimming pools, and water lawns and gardens. If your consumption rate has increased unexpectedly, and you have done none of the aforementioned, you may have a leak. Pueblo West Utilities has identified and confirmed that several of the customers who raised concerns did indeed have leaks.

The bar graph on your bill shows a year’s worth of consumption, allowing customers to compare their consumption for this billing period with the same period from the previous year (Example below).

water bill graph

If your bill appears to be unexpectedly high, even compared to the same billing period from the previous year, please call the Pueblo West Utilities Department at (719) 547-3554. A trained water technician is available to visit your property and inspect for leaks.

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