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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Water Conservation Rate Structure Study & Report

The Portland Water Bureau conducted a study to review its retail water rate structure with respect to its conservation impact and incentives for all retail customers. In May 2010 the Portland Water Bureau received approval from the Oregon Department of Water Resources (OWRD) of its Water Management and Conservation Plan under Oregon Administration Rules Division 86. The rules require an evaluation of alternative water rate structures that encourage water conservation that can potentially be implemented as one of the five-year benchmarks by May 25, 2015.

As a part of meeting this requirement, the Portland Water Bureau proposed to conduct a rate structure study to determine if an alternative rate structure would in fact produce equal or greater water efficiencies than currently obtained by the existing uniform rate structure. In addition to promoting water efficiency, the alternative rate structures were also evaluated based on how well they address the need for revenue stability, equity, affordability, legality, and cost of implementation among other factors. Moreover, in an effort to examine the degree to which the current rate structure is based on cost of service, the study also assessed the impact of the fixed and volumetric charges of the considered rates on proper allocation of cost of service to the Portland Water Bureau customers.

The firm of Gary Fiske and Associates, supported by the subcontracting consulting firm of A&N Technical Services, conducted the study. The study was reviewed by a Citizen Review Committee (CRC), with members representing the interests of different customer classes, as well as, conservation and environmental interests. A Technical Committee (TC) comprised of staff from BES, OMF, and different groups in the Water Bureau oversaw the technical aspects of the study.

For additional information, contact Portland Water Bureau Principal Economist Hossein Parandvash at 503-823-5350 or by email at