East Texas usually enjoys enough rain to keep our flora lush, but for the past few years we’ve had lower rainfall than normal and that means more irrigation to keep our yards green and healthy. Our last water bill was $271.52 for 82,000 gallons. We’re having to irrigate three times a week and our yard is over an acre even after subtracting for the aerobic heads that cover about a 1/10 of the lawn.
So it was a bit unsettling to receive the recent “Notice of Proposed Rate Change” from Southern Utilities. I had to get out my calculator to total the increases they are asking for, but after adding up the additional charges our bill would increase 88.8% to $$512.66. A big part of this increase is being called the “conservation rate”, and there’s certainly a case to be made that we all use too much water. But, it will mean big changes for a lot of folks with big yards. I’m now investigating xeriscaping, which means goodby St Augustine and hello native grasses!
Since utility costs are one of the first considerations of home buyers these days, this will hit all of us in the pocketbook immediately, and then, later, when we put our homes on the market. If you like your lawn green and are a Southern Utilities customer, please join me in writing a letter of protest. If 10% of SU’s customers write, hearings will be held. Send your letter to:
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Water Supply Division
Utilities & Districts Section, MC 153
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087.