Starting in October 2022, the typical City of Tulsa residential utility bill is expected to increase by about $7/month. These changes will be reflected on October bills that are received in November.
Inflation, supply chain challenges, and increases in contract prices between the City and its vendors are the main reasons for the increase in utility rates.
There are three main ways you can work to lower your bill, which include:
There are three main ways to get help with your bill, namely:
If you have questions about specific charges on your bill, you can contact our Customer Care Center by calling 311, (918) 596-2100, or sending an email to email@example.com.
In most instances, there is no expansion in services. The increase in rates is to cover cost increases associated with providing the same level of service.
The four utilities (Water, Sanitary Sewer, Stormwater and Trash/Recycling) are already provided without extra, unnecessary programs, so a reduction in services is not being considered. Trash and recycling services are provided with multiple ala carte options giving residents the opportunity to control their costs through the programs offered. Water and sanitary sewer services have to comply with EPA and Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) regulations. Tulsa’s robust water system has contributed to an Insurance Service Office (ISO) Class 1 rating for the Tulsa Fire Department and has reduced insurance rates for the community. And the stormwater program must comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permits, with Tulsa recently receiving a Class 1 national Flood Insurance Program ranking from FEMA, also resulting in reduced insurance rates for the community.
The Water Fund is using capital reserve dollars to apply to the capital improvement projects allowing other cash to go toward increases for personnel, materials and supplies, and services.
The Wastewater Fund and the Stormwater Fund do not have money in a dedicated capital reserve like the Water Fund. Capital costs are paid only from revenue received through rates. These dollars pay directly for capital improvements or the debt payments for money that was borrowed for the capital programs.
The City of Tulsa is a capital-intensive business with more than 2,300 miles of water lines, 2,100 miles of wastewater lines, 1,000 miles of stormwater lines, and 4,500 lane miles of roads. Water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater budgets include the cost to keep these pipes, treatment plants, and systems operating effectively and efficiently.
In 2012, the Tulsa Authority for Recovery of Energy (TARE) entered into 10-year contracts for the beneficial disposal of waste with Covanta, the collection of waste and recycling with NeWSolutions, and the processing of recyclables with Tulsa Recycle and Transfer. NeWSolutions renewed its contract through September 2026, while the other contracts need to be rebid again and are expected to increase to rates similar to our surrounding peer cities.
For similarly sized cities dedicated to robust asset management and providing high levels of service, the projected rates are similar for a customer using 4,500 gallons of water, discharging 3,000 gallons of sanitary sewer, paying for stormwater and utilizing a 96-gallon cart for refuse and recycling.