There’s something in Richmond’s water … bills. City dwellers are paying more for water than residents of nearby counties do. An average family in Henrico County spends about $50 less per month, while a Chesterfield family pays $65 less than a Richmond household. Norfolk residents pay close to the same amount per month; however, the Hampton Roads city bills its residents in a way that promotes conservation: through volume rather than service charges.
Angela Fountain, a spokeswoman for Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities, says the city’s higher service charges pay for “fixed costs for account servicing, meter reading and bill processing.” She also says these fees pay for maintaining the city’s plants and pipes. And because there’s not as much new development in Richmond, Fountain says the city doesn’t make as much from connection fees as the counties do.
Scott Burger, a city resident who’s been advocating to reform Richmond’s water rates for years, calls the old pipes reasoning a myth, and says the charges “put the smaller users at a disadvantage.”
Infographic by Sarah Lockwood
*Both Henrico and Chesterfield charge their service fees and send out bills bimonthly.