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Why does CFPUA charge commercial customers a cheaper rate than it charges families?

Ken Little

The full question:

The CFPUA has a uniform rate for irrigation meters of $2.64 per thousand gallons for unlimited usage. It has a uniform rate for commercials customers of $3.96 per thousand gallons for unlimited usage. How can the CFPUA justify targeting only families with tiered rates, penalizing them with rates as high as $5.28 per thousand gallons?

And the answer:

During the formation of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, a consulting group that studied the area’s demographics and consumption patterns determined that residential utilization “experienced significant peak periods that warranted variable rates versus their finding for non-residential which showed a more ‘uniform’ utilization and therefore a more uniform rate,” CFPUA spokeswoman Carey Disney Ricks said.

Added Cheryl Spivey, CFPUA’s chief financial officer: “Residential consumption is approximately four times that of commercial, and peak demands in residential use drives our need to build infrastructure.”

Jim Quinn, CFPUA board chairman, said the new rate for irrigation provided by a separate irrigation meter was approved to reduce the number of private wells being drilled by customers.

“The use of wells and ground water for irrigation purposes can deplete our resources, worsen salt water intrusion, and compromise the long-term supply of water from wells and aquifers otherwise needed to provide high-quality drinking water,” Quinn said. “Through irrigation meters, if drought or emergency conditions arise, water used for irrigation purposes through these meters can be better managed.”

CFPUA water usage chart

This chart from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority shows residential and commercial water consumption. Click to enlarge.

User-contributed question by:
Gene R. and Chad O'Shields

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2 Responses to “ Why does CFPUA charge commercial customers a cheaper rate than it charges families?”

  1. On August 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm Jim Ware wrote:

    Reporter Kevin Maurer contributed to this answer, which was updated on Aug. 30, 2011.

  2. On October 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm Robinson wrote:

    Of course the overall usage is more for families, theres more families than businesses. Who are they trying to fool. Indiviual companies may be using 30 times more than a household would use.

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