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City of Philadelphia

Rate Process

Contact the Water Rate Board

Please send email to:
WaterRateBoard@phila.gov

Philadelphia Water, Sewer, and Stormwater Rate Board
c/o Marie McNeill
Philadelphia Water Department
Finance Division
1101 Market Street, 5th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

In November 2012, Philadelphia voters approved an amendment to the Charter to allow City Council to establish, by ordinance, an independent rate-making body responsible for fixing and regulating rates and charges for water and sewer services. Under the Rate Ordinance, the Board replaces the Water Department as the entity responsible for setting water, wastewater and stormwater rates. The Rate Ordinance became effective January 20, 2014. The board has been formed. View the legislation.

The Board must establish open and transparent processes and procedures for public comment on proposed rates and charges, and must promulgate regulations for rate hearings and determination of rates and charges consistent with the Philadelphia Code. Until such regulations are adopted, the Board must follow existing Water Department regulations regarding rate setting. Prior to fixing and regulating rates, the Board must hold public hearings. The Water Department is required to provide supporting documentation (including financial accounting and engineering data) to the Board with regard to (i) establishing revenue requirements necessary to meet the System’s immediate and long-term operating and capital needs, (ii) maintaining the utility’s financial stability (with reliance upon the Financial Stability Plan), and (iii) providing a fair allocation of costs among customer groups based upon cost of service principles.

The Rate Ordinance requires that when the Water Department has proposed changes in rates and charges, the Board must prepare a written report containing the information the Board utilized in reaching its decision to approve, modify, or reject the proposed rates and charges. The Board’s decision must be made no later than 120 days from the filing of notice of any such proposed changes. If the Board is unable to act on the proposed rates and charges within that time frame, the Water Department may establish emergency rates and charges on a temporary basis pending a final determination by the Board.