Tacoma’s City Council voted to approve the 2023-2024 proposed biennial budget Tuesday, November 22. The budget included the updated rates for Tacoma Public Utilities customers. The updated budget and rates maintain safe, reliable service to customers and enhance residential assistance programs for income-constrained customers while balancing increased costs from inflation.
Tacoma Public Utilities is a not-for-profit, customer-owned utility that only charges for costs to provide services. Inflationary pressures have driven up costs for the Utility— the cost to construct and maintain utility infrastructure, such as power transformers and water reservoirs, has risen with supply chain constraints; wages have increased to keep pace with the labor market, and other costs such as fuel and insurance have been impacted by inflationary pressures.
In 2023 and 2024, customers will experience a system average rate increase of 3.5 percent for power and 4.0 percent for water, below the 9 percent inflation rate in the Puget Sound region. These increases are designed to be gradual, preventing future large increases while still providing safe and reliable services.
Tacoma Public Utilities will provide enhanced residential assistance programs as a part of the approved budget for customers who need it most. These enhancements will provide an automatic bill credit based on qualifying income thresholds. As a result, the total available household aid for the five City utility services will increase from $672 per year to $967 in 2023 and $1,035 in 2024, offsetting rate increases for those who qualify.
Water bill increases will take effect in January of 2023 during off-peak water consumption and power bills will increase in April of 2023, after winter’s peak power needs.