2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study

The Tahoe City Public Utility District has initiated a 2019 Water and Sewer Rate Study to update the 2014 Rate Study and set new maximum annual water and sewer rates for 2020-2024. The TCPUD Board will be considering rate increases for water and sewer utilities necessary to fully fund the cost of operations and to provide funding to meet identified water system capital infrastructure needs throughout our service area.

California Proposition 218 requires that the TCPUD follow a rigorous process to identify the cost of service prior to setting rates for both sewer and water service. TCPUD is currently engaged in an update to the cost of service analysis in order to set rates for the next five years.


Purpose of the Rate Study

  • Set maximum annual water and sewer rates for the next 5-year period (2020-2024)
  • Provide sufficient revenues to operate, maintain, and invest in our water and sewer infrastructure
    • Self-supporting – rate revenue fully funds current operations
    • Funds capital infrastructure needs
    • Funds ongoing renewal and replacement
  • Develop equitable and cost-based rates for all of our customers
  • Execute a prudent fiscal planning process
  • Comply with Proposition 218 requirements

As a public water and sewer provider, TCPUD can only charge its customers for the costs associated with providing water and sewer service.All revenue generated by water rates can only be used for water services and related capital investments. Conversely, the same is true for sewer rates.


Assumptions of the Rate Study

The philosophical approach of TCPUD is to maintain a unified water system across our entire service area that equitably distributes the cost of current and future system needs, achieves the highest service standards, and provides all our customers with the benefit of an economy of scale for the operation, maintenance, and infrastructure investments in our water system district-wide. With this unified approach, the 2019 Rate Study assumes:

  • A single cost of service analysis district-wide
  • A single rate structure for all customers (i.e. no seasonal rates)
  • Rate revenue will not be sufficient to cover full water capital infrastructure needs
  • Customers in the Tahoe Cedars and Madden Creek Water Systems, acquired by TCPUD in January 2018, will transition to TCPUD water rates over time


Challenges of the Rate Study

TCPUD operates over 300 miles of sewer and water lines, 22 sewer pump stations, 6 booster pump stations, 15 water storage tanks, 14 water wells, and 1 temporary surface water treatment plant.  Capital infrastructure investments are needed throughout our service area, including significant improvements for the aging and failing infrastructure associated with the acquisition of three water systems in January 2018; Timberland, Tahoe Cedars, and Madden Creek.

Funding for future capital improvements will be evaluated through the TCPUD’s long-term financial planning process as current water and sewer rate revenue will not be sufficient to cover our full utility capital infrastructure needs. Possible additional funding sources include property tax, grants, financing, and special assessments.


Schedule of Public Meetings (subject to change)

Over the next few months, the TCPUD Board will be discussing the 2019 Rate Study at regularly scheduled Board meetings and a special Board meeting on July 22 at 1pm. As always, our customers are encouraged to attend these public meetings. All TCPUD Board meetings can also be viewed online at tcpud.org. Prior to adoption of a new rate structure later this year, a public hearing will be held in the fall of 2019, and every parcel owner impacted by any proposed rate change will be notified and invited to attend the public hearing.


Public Meeting Dates:

  • July 22, 1pm – Special Board Meeting to review draft 2019 Rate Study results and recommendations
  • August 16, 8:30am – Board Meeting, Issue Prop 218 notice
  • October 18, 8:30am – Board Meeting, Public Hearing
  • November 22, 8:30am – Board Meeting, Rate Adoption

All Meetings will take place in the TCPUD Board Room at 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City.


For more information on the 2019 Water and Sewer Rate Study process, please contact Stacie Lyans, Community Engagement Analyst, at 530.580.6057 or slyans@tcpud.org.