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MUD increases water rates, details impact of high natural gas prices

MUD increases water rates, details impact of high natural gas prices

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The main takeaways from the nation's latest official head count.

Metro area residents will be paying more for water next year and now have a better idea of the likely impact of high natural gas prices on their heating bills.

The Metropolitan Utilities District board on Wednesday approved a 7.8% increase in water rates for residential and small commercial customers. The average annual increase for a homeowner is expected to be about $15. (That’s based on using 77,792 gallons per year.)

Also on Wednesday, MUD said the average residential customer probably will pay 32% more, or an estimated $191, on their heating bills over the course of the year because of higher natural gas prices nationally. (That’s based on a household using 772 therms of gas.)

Money raised through the water rate increase will flow directly to MUD. The money customers pay for higher natural gas prices flows through MUD and to the companies that sell the gas to MUD.

Large commercial, industrial, commercial sprinkling and wholesale customers will see a 5.6% increase in water rates. MUD is not increasing any of its other fees.

The water increase goes into effect Jan. 2. Higher natural gas prices already are showing up in bills.

For those customers in need of help, MUD has launched a “Bill Round Up” program that gives other customers the opportunity to contribute to an assistance fund.

Even with the increase in water rates, the district said in a press release Wednesday that it will need to tap reserves next year. The district also expects to issue bonds to fund infrastructure improvements.

The district is anticipating receiving $278.4 million in revenue for the gas department and $148 million for the water department.

Next year’s budget will fund additional efforts to resolve problems with water main breaks: MUD will be adding staff and partnering with local contractors; using more resilient materials; and implementing new technologies.

The district also will spend $78 million to expand its capacity to store liquified natural gas in the metro area. This will boost the district’s reserve of natural gas, which helps save money during price spikes and high demand.

MUD also is planning to make improvements at its Platte West and Platte South water treatment plants.


Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email:

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