FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Krause
Chief Strategic Communications and Security Officer
830.629.8440 | email@example.com
(New Braunfels, TX – March 30, 2023) – Today, the New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) Board of Trustees approved the utility’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget, Five Year Operating Plan, and proposed two-year rate plan.
In February of 2021, NBU engaged Freese and Nichols, Inc. and sub-consultant NewGen Strategies and Solutions, LLC, to conduct a Cost-of-Service (COS) and Rate Design Study, including facilitating NBU’s first-ever Rate Advisory Committee (RAC), which is comprised of 18 community members. The purpose of the RAC was to provide feedback to NBU and its consultants regarding the proposed FYs 2024 and 2025 rate design from the viewpoint of each committee member’s rate category. The RAC has hosted a series of public meetings since June 2022 and identified seven Key Policy Areas to shape rate design:
- Low/Fixed Income Customers
- Equity and Fairness in Rate Making
- Conservation and Renewables
- Revenue Sufficiency
- Accommodating Growth
- Utility Stability and Financial Strength
- Simple to Understand and Easy to Implement
The work of the Committee was to help facilitate fair, transparent, and equitable rate designs for electric, water, and wastewater rates for each customer category and help NBU strengthen key policy areas. This work product was done in preparation for developing a proposed rate plan for FYs 2024 and 2025.
On February 2, 2023, the NBU Board of Trustees reviewed the COS and Rate Design Study during its Strategic Planning Workshop. During the NBU Budget Workshop on Monday, March 27, the Board received an update with the most recent budget numbers reflecting the necessary revenue requirements to invest in our community’s aging and growing utility infrastructure. The five-year capital improvement projects (to meet regulatory compliance), funding proactive operations for aging infrastructure, and prudent debt coverage continue to drive the need for increased rates over the next two fiscal years. The NBU fiscal year is effective from August 1 through July 31.
The proposed rate adjustments will allow NBU to maintain prudent financial operations, appropriate debt coverage ratios, and adequate reserve fund levels for electric operations.
As water infrastructure remains NBU’s most significant and costly community investment, the proposed rate changes will see a more equitable pricing structure for residential and commercial users. In the proposed rate adjustments, the current peak/off-peak rate differential will be removed, while existing usage tiers will be modified to allow savings for low-usage or essential-usage customers and to send conservation pricing signals to water users consuming more than 6,000 gallons per month, primarily irrigation use, with the upper tiers costing more.
The proposed wastewater rates will closely align with the COS analysis and will increase in FYs
2024 and 2025. The two-year rate plan reflects the need to recover sufficient revenues to continue equitably operating the system and meet regulatory requirements.
As we continue to plan for the future, NBU is committed to replacing aging infrastructure and expanding capacity and services to meet the needs of the community while ensuring a resilient water supply for every generation that will follow.
The NBU two-year rate plan is scheduled to go before the New Braunfels City Council for the first reading on April 3, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at 550 Landa Street, New Braunfels, Texas.
To learn more about NBU’s proposed two-year rate plan increases and next steps, visit nbutexas.com/rate-plan.
About New Braunfels Utilities:
New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) strives to be a trusted community partner dedicated to excellence in service and is one of 2,000 community-owned, nonprofit public power electric utilities in the nation. With a mission of strengthening our community by providing resilient essential services, NBU is governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of residents appointed by the New Braunfels City Council. New Braunfels Utilities provides electric, water, and wastewater services. Utility revenues are continually invested back into the systems of the customers, which benefits the community. New Braunfels Utilities makes an annual transfer to the City of New Braunfels, which in turn helps to pay for services such as fire, police, and parks. Follow NBU on Facebook at facebook.com/newbraunfelsutilities, on Twitter at @nbutexas, and to learn more, visit nbutexas.com.