The Austin Utilities Board of Commissioners approved the 2021 Austin Utilities budget and related rate adjustments at the December board meeting. The annual budget is used to set rates. For 2021, customers can anticipate an overall savings on their utility bill. Although there will be a 1.9% increase in the water utility, it will be offset by a 1.95% decrease in electric costs and should result in a net savings to customers.
An electric decrease of 1.95% and a water increase of 1.9% for both residential and business customers will become effective with the January 2021 utility bill. The effect of the overall residential water rate adjustments will be an average monthly bill increase of $0.70. About 85% of Austin Utilities current customers are residential. Small to mid-sized business customers can expect to see monthly water increases in the range of $1.55 to $17.50. At the same time, the electric costs will decrease 1.95% resulting in a monthly savings to residential customer of $(1.37). Small to mid-sized business customers can expect to see monthly electric savings the range of $(3.08) to $(82.16).
This is third year in a row Austin Utilities has reported no increases in natural gas rates. Electric costs have decreased two of the last three years. A cost of service study performed in 2020 showed a need to implement a small increase in water rates. Updates to aging areas of our infrastructure continues to be a major driver in the need to increase water rates. The study also indicated a need to increase electric rates but a credit from our wholesale electric provider to be received in 2021 avoided the need for the increase.
Portions of the bill related to sewer charges and storm water fees are controlled and administered by the City of Austin. Changes to these costs are not reported by Austin Utilities.