What You Need to Know About the Proposed Water & Sewer Rates for Fiscal Years Ending 2024-26
The SFPUC Commission approved the rate package at its May 23, 2023 public meeting.
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The SFPUC generates clean energy, delivers high-quality water to 2.7 million Bay Area customers, and protects the environment and public health by treating wastewater and stormwater. Our work is almost exclusively funded by the rates that customers pay, not by taxes. We are a not-for-profit public utility. We are required by law to charge our customers only the true cost of operating, maintaining, and upgrading our water and sewer systems. To continue delivering the services that San Franciscans depend on, the SFPUC is proposing water and sewer rate increases, effective July 1, 2023.
Your Dollars at Work
Water and sewer systems are critical to public health. Many parts of the SFPUC water system are nearly 100 years old, and the oldest parts of the sewer system date back to the Gold Rush. These systems require ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
Proposed rate increases would pay for essential services, upgrade aging systems to prevent breaks, meet regulatory requirements, improve seismic safety, and adapt to droughts and storms as the climate changes.
Learn more about the rate setting process, understanding your bill, assistance programs, ways to save water and money, and more below.
Public Process for Setting Rates and Public Meetings
The SFPUC is committed to a transparent, public rate setting process guided by the principles set in Ratepayer Assurance Policy and as required by state law.
The SFPUC is required to undertake independent rate studies at least every five years to ensure the rates customers are charged reflect the true cost of providing our services. The last rate study for water and sewer rates was completed in 2018, and a new one was required.
Independent rate analysts recommended water and sewer rate increases for the next three fiscal years to address operating and capital improvement needs. The proposed rates represent an average monthly bill increase of $12.69 each year for the average single-family residential household in San Francisco. That increase is about 8.3% per year. The proposed rate increases would take effect July 1, 2023 and cover the fiscal years ending in 2024-2026.
The rate study findings provide the basis for our rate proposal, which goes through an extensive review and public approval process.
The SFPUC mailed all our registered property owners a Proposition 218 Notice of proposed rate changes and to advise them that a public meeting will be held on May 23, 2023 regarding proposed water and sewer rates increase for fiscal years ending 2024-2026.
There are several opportunities for customers to hear directly from their representatives, and provide feedback, during the rate setting process.
Since 2002, the Rate Fairness Board has been reviewing and advising us on rate matters. This group consists of appointed members including local residents and business owners. These meeting are held throughout the year in-person and remotely by teleconference. For instructions on how to join the meeting remotely and make comments, please refer to the agenda for each meeting.
2023 Rate Fairness Board Meetings
January 6, 2023
February 7, 2023
March 17, 2023
April 11, 2023, 10am - 12pm
April 28, 2023, 1:30pm - 3:30pm
May 5, 2023, 1:30pm - 3:30pm
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission consists of five members, nominated by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Supervisors. Their responsibility is to provide operational oversight in areas such as rates and charges for services, approval of contracts, and organizational policy.
Our Commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, unless otherwise noted on the agenda schedule. For instructions on how to join the meeting remotely and make comment, please refer to the agenda for each meeting.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 23, 2023 at 1:30pm
Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Water and Sewer Rates
Customers also have the right to submit a written protest against the proposed water and sewer rates. The proposed rate increases will not take effect if the SFPUC receives written protests from a majority of the affected property owners and customers.
Written protests must be mailed to the SFPUC Commission Secretary at the address below or hand delivered to the Commission Secretary at the May 23, 2023 Commission public hearing in order to be counted. Protests may not be delivered electronically or verbally.
Any written protest must: (1) state that the identified property owner or customer is in opposition to the proposed rates increase; (2) provide the location of the identified parcel (by assessor’s parcel number, street address, or customer account); and (3) include the name and signature of the person submitting the protest. Only one protest may be registered per property.
Although oral comments at the public hearing will not qualify as a formal protest unless accompanied by a written protest.
Mail Protests to:
SFPUC Commission Secretary
525 Golden Gate Avenue, 13th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Under California Government Code section 53759, there is a 120-day statute of limitations for challenging any new, increased, or extended fee or charge. This statute of limitations applies to the water and sewer service rates and charges proposed in this notice. It also applies to future changes to water and sewer rates and charges.
For questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed Rates and Changes to Your Bill
The SFPUC water and sewer bills contain two core elements: fixed charges that cover shared costs relevant to all customers and usage charges based on the amount of water used or wastewater produced. Understand how to read your current bill.
We are required to periodically undertake rates studies to ensure the rates customers are charged reflect the true cost of providing our services. Adjustments are then proposed so that all customers are treated fairly, uninterrupted services are provided, strict environmental regulations can be met, and the financial stability of our assets and systems are maintained long-term.
To continue delivering the services that San Franciscans depend on, the SFPUC is proposing water and sewer rate increases, effective July 1, 2023. The proposed new rate schedule represents an average monthly bill increase of $12.69 each year for the average single-family residential household in San Francisco (about 8.3% per year).
Even with our proposed rate increase, the average customer’s water and sewer bill in San Francisco would still be less than current bills in Los Angeles and Santa Clara and just slightly more than San Diego and San Jose.
We are also proposing changes to the way we charge the sewer portion of your bill to better align our rates with the cost of serving our customers. This new structure would not change the total amount of revenue collected by the SFPUC. It is simply a more equitable way of allocating the existing costs of managing wastewater.
Currently, the sewer portion of your bill includes the cost to collect and treat sewage that comes out of buildings, like toilet flushing, as well as stormwater runoff from rain that flows off rooftops, parking lots, and driveways. The proposed new structure would split the usage portion of sewer bills into two parts, 1) a wastewater portion and 2) a stormwater portion.
- Wastewater charges would be based on the estimated volume of sewage discharged.
- Stormwater charges would be based on the amount of stormwater runoff that flows off each property.
This updated methodology is standard practice among many utilities nationwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Review the Frequently Asked Questions page and learn more about the proposed rates.
Download the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (English | Español | 中文 | Filipino).
Ways to Save Water and Money
We are committed to keeping our rates affordable and providing ways for all of our customers to lower their bills. Explore our programs that help you save water and money
Learn about Proposed Changes to your Water and Sewer Rates
The SFPUC generates clean energy, delivers high-quality water to more than 2.7 million Bay Area customers, and protects the environment and public health by treating wastewater and stormwater for San Francisco residents and businesses.
Many parts of our water system are nearly 100 years old, and the oldest parts of our sewer system date back to the Gold Rush. Maintaining and upgrading our aging systems will prevent breaks, improve seismic safety, meet regulatory requirements, and help us adapt to storms and droughts as the climate changes.
To continue delivering essential services that San Franciscans depend on, the SFPUC is proposing water and sewer rates increases, effective July 1, 2023, for the fiscal years ending in 2024-2026. We will also be making changes to the way we calculate your sewer bill.
Many customers learned more about the proposed water and sewer rates package, rate setting process at one of our Town Hall Meetings held April, 5, April 11, and April 19.
Cantonese, Filipino, and Spanish interpretation was available for the April 5 and April 19 town halls.
Watch a recording of the Town Hall.
Additional Resources and Documents
- Proposition 218 Public Notice (English | Español | 中文 | Filipino
- How to Read Your Current Bill
- Stormwater Charge
- SFPUC Water and Wastewater Rates Study (05/15/23)
- Rates 2023 Information Handout (English | Español | 中文 | Filipino)
- Rebates and Incentives Handout (English | Español | 中文 | Filipino)
- Frequently Asked Questions /FAQ (English | Español | 中文 | Filipino).
- We are the SFPUC (video)
- 2023 Rates Proposal (video)
- SFPUC Rates Town Hall Meeting, April 19, 2023
In the News, Your Dollars at Work
Stay informed with the latest updates and news on ongoing maintenance and upgrades to the SFPUC water and sewer system.
Mountain Tunnel, key piece of Bay Area water infrastructure, getting major overhaul - CBS Bay Area. April 11, 2023.
Tunnel vision: San Francisco’s water supply depends on a portal to the past and the future - SF Examiner. April 11, 2023
Virtual townhalls about proposed changes to your rates were held on:
- Wednesday, April 5 at 12:00pm
- Tuesday, April 11 at 6:00pm
- Wednesday, April 19 at 10:00am
SFPUC Rates Town Hall Meeting Presentation.
Use our online Proposed Rates Bill Calculator to develop personalize bill estimates with the proposed rate changes.