Water Rate Information

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Your Dollars at Work Everyday

For over 75 years, the City of Hillsboro Water Department has provided safe, high-quality, reliable water to consumers at rates that are among the lowest in the region. Protection of public health is our highest priority and governs every decision we make.

The Hillsboro Water Department is funded solely by water rates and System Development Charges (SDCs). The Department does not receive any tax revenue or money from the City of Hillsboro’s general funds.

Drinking Water Rate Increase, Effective October 2017

The City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission voted unanimously on August 8, 2017 to approve an 11 percent water rate increase for all City of Hillsboro water customers, effective from October 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.

The decision comes after extensive public outreach that offered community members numerous opportunities to provide feedback, discuss rate challenges, and seek ideas and solutions for managing cost issues. In July 2017, the Utilities Commission received public comment on the proposed water rate increase during a water rate public hearing.

The water rate change will be applied specifically to the water portion of the City of Hillsboro Utility Bill, not the sanitary sewer, surface water, or transportation utility fees managed by the City of Hillsboro Public Works Department and Clean Water Services.

Water Rate Public Hearing

The City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission held a Water Rate Public Hearing on July 10, 2017, at 6:30 pm in Room 113 B/C at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E Main Street, Hillsboro, Oregon 97123. At the hearing, the Utilities Commission received comment from the public regarding the proposed water rate increase for all rate classes served by the Hillsboro Water Department, including residential, commercial, and industrial.

Public Hearing Materials:

Water Rate Setting Process

Close up of a water glass with a Hillsboro logoWater rates for the City of Hillsboro Water Department service area are established and approved on an annual basis by the City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission – not the City Council. This occurs after an extensive review of the revenue requirements and costs underlying any rate proposal.

Setting rates is a public process and includes the opportunity for input by all throughout the year to discuss rate challenges and seeks ideas and solutions for managing cost issues.

The Utilities Commission does not have set or have authority over the other fees or charges included on the Utility Bill, including:

  • Transportation Utility Fee (TUF)
  • Sewer Base and Usage Charge
  • Surface Water Management
  • Sanitary Sewer and Surface Water Management Local Service Fee

Click here to access the Water Rate brochure.

What Determines the Cost of Hillsboro’s Water?

The four most significant contributing factors to the approved 2017 water rate adjustment are:

  1. Critical Upgrades and Replacement of Water Infrastructure: From treatment plants to reservoirs to pipelines, much of the system that delivers water to and around Hillsboro was built decades ago. Aging parts of the system must be upgraded, repaired, and in some cases replaced to ensure safe, reliable drinking water delivery for Hillsboro water customers.
  2. New Water Supply Investment: The City of Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District are developing the mid-Willamette River at Wilsonville as an additional water supply source by 2026. The large scale, seismically-resilient water infrastructure project is currently under construction and includes building a water treatment plant, reservoirs, and more than 30 miles of large-diameter transmission pipeline traveling north from Wilsonville, through Beaverton, and into Hillsboro.This new, reliable water supply, combined with our current water supply, will support growth for Hillsboro residents and businesses for decades to come.
  3. Economic Trends: Hillsboro is experiencing slower residential and industrial growth than projected.
  4. Increased Workforce: Workforce capacity is being added to improve business practices and handle growth in workload.

What Water Rates Fund

Revenue received from water rates invests in:

  • Operating and maintaining the water system
  • Ensuring water quality and reliability of service
  • Providing customer service
  • Constructing and replacing water infrastructure
  • Complying with regulatory standards
  • Paying debt service on bonds
  • Employing the Water Department workforce
  • Investing in an additional water supply source (mid-Willamette at Wilsonville)

Comparables

The approved 2017 water rate increase still makes the average water portion of the Utility Bill approximately:

  • 65 percent less than an average electric bill
  • 56 percent less than an average cable television bill
  • 51 percent less than an average cell phone bill

Average Monthly Utility Services Pie Chart

An interruption in internet, cell phone, natural gas, cable TV, and electricity are generally inconvenient; an interruption in drinking water services could have a significant impact on basic life functions.

Comparison of Average Residential Monthly Water Charges - Bar Graph 

Even with the approved 2017 water rate increase, the City of Hillsboro Water Department would continue to have the third lowest water rate in the Portland Metro region.

Gallon Comparison
Hillsboro’s tap water remains one of the lowest cost utility bills at less than a penny per gallon – a true bargain considering the resources and expertise it takes to treat and deliver safe and reliable water to customer’s taps 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

When compared to other products used each day, tap water is clearly one of the best deals around.
 
Where Does Your Dollar Go?

At the Hillsboro Water Department, our goals are to protect public health, deliver high quality water, and offer exceptional customer service at the lowest possible cost. We are dedicated to providing the best water service in the industry and have an excellent track record of efficient operations.

For a little more than one dollar a day, Hillsboro Water Department customers receive:

  • 200 gallons of clean and filtered drinking water delivered to their home daily, available to access at any time day or night
  • Reliable, ample, and fresh water supply delivered straight to their tap by properly-sized pipes
  • A water treatment plant operating under all weather conditions
  • About 70 lbs in constant water pressure
  • Fire protection around the clock
  • A reliable water supply from sources including a river and two reservoirs in the Tualatin Watershed
  • 24-7 response through every season to emergency water events, including water mainline breaks and emergency shutoffs
  • Lead-free water
  • Emergency water storage in three strategic locations within the City of Hillsboro

Affordability

The City of Hillsboro Water Department and the Utilities Commission understands affordability is a challenge and takes this into account when considering potential water rate adjustments. Interested customers are encouraged to contact the City of Hillsboro Utility Billing Department to request a Utility Bill review and discuss options.

Monthly Billing
Starting in October 2017, the City of Hillsboro Utility Billing Department will begin switching customers who have been traditionally billed on a bi-monthly basis to a monthly utility bill. This process will be implemented over the course of approximately 18 months, with a goal of having all customers transitioned to monthly billing before 2020.

Monthly billing will allow customers the opportunity to improve budget planning, manage water consumption on a monthly rather than bi-monthly basis, and be alerted to possible leaks in a timelier manner. Customers will receive a letter of notification prior to their transition to monthly billing. 

Three-Pricing Tiers
The residential rate class is composed of three pricing tiers. The first tier covers essential water service and is priced at cost, taking affordability challenges into consideration.

Payment Assistance Program
The City of Hillsboro offers a Utility Bill payment assistance program through the Salvation Army for customers in crisis. Up to $150 is available per year for each qualifying customer.

Hillsboro Water Department Rate History

   2013 2014   2015 2016  2017

Monthly Water Portion
of Utility Bill
(Based on average use of 8 CCFs)

 
$24.12

$25.57
 
$27.07

$29.50 
 
$32.75

Rate Increase from
Previous Year

 $1.48
(6.6%)
$1.45
 (6%)
$1.50
(6%) 
$2.43
(9%) 
$3.25 
(11%)

Link to the 2017 Water Rates Brochure

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