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Brodhead gets OK to raise water rates
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MADISON - Average residential Brodhead water-utility customers will be paying an additional 11 percent, or about $1.50 more, a month for water, according to a rate decision the Wisconsin Public Service Commission issued Friday.

Water rates have not increased since 2001.

Residential customers currently paying $14.34 monthly in volume charges for 4,000 gallons of water will pay $15.85 for the same amount of water when the new rates take effect after Dec. 14, according to Teresina Chapman, Brodhead Water and Light Commission office manager.

The monthly meter charge most customers pay increased to $8.25.

Rates for commercial, industrial and public-entity customers also increased by similar percentages.

The new rates are about average compared to similarly sized utilities statewide, according to the rate order.

After nearly 15 years without a rate increase, the utility recorded income deficits in three of the past five years, including 2015, according to PSC staff analysis. The deficits included depreciation costs, non-cash items, that the PSC wants utilities to report to reflect the cost to replace aging equipment. Profitable years, including 2012 and 2013, did not make up for the $167,543 deficit recorded in 2011.

The utility recorded an $8,909 deficit last year and projected losing $4,777 this year, according to PSC staff analysis.

The new rates are expected to boost annual revenue by $51,904 to $594,130. After expenses of $547,003, the utility projects a $47,127 net income next year and a 2-percent rate of return on the value of infrastructure investment.

While a 2-percent rate of return is below the utility's cost to borrow money, it wanted to lessen the size of the rate increase on customers. Typically, the PSC has been authorizing a 5.25-percent rate of return this year.

The small rate of return still provides for the "financial viability of the utility," according to the rate order.