NTPUD Five-Year Utility Rate Adjustment

District Rate Assessment

In 2022,  the NTPUD retained an independent consultant and began a comprehensive cost-of-service study to determine whether existing rates and property tax revenues were sufficient to meet the system rehabilitation and replacement needs, as well as the District’s operational costs for the water and wastewater systems. Our rate structure was also assessed for compliance with industry best practices and California state law. California Proposition 218 (Cal. Const. Article XIIID, sec. 6) requires each customer class to be charged only what is required to cover their respective proportional cost-of-service. Importantly, water rates can only be used to fund water system costs, and wastewater rates can only be used to fund wastewater system costs.

With the study now complete, we have determined annual rate adjustments are necessary over the next five years to continue providing reliable and sustainable water and wastewater services into the future. Our existing rates and property tax revenues are not sufficient to fund the necessary investments in our infrastructure and meet operational costs.

The adjustments to monthly water and wastewater rates are triggered by many factors including:

  • Identified infrastructure improvements necessary to address end of service life system rehabilitation
    and replacement before failure.
  • Identified water infrastructure improvements to provide fire suppression.
  • Significant escalation of the cost of construction, supplies, materials, labor, and utilities.

Additionally, we identified necessary rate restructuring to ensure continued compliance with Proposition 218. As a result of this rate restructuring, the bill impact in the first year of the proposed rate adjustments will not be the same across all customer classes. Even with the new rate adjustments, over the next five-year rate period, the District’s rates remain consistent with the other water and wastewater service providers in the region.

Investing in Our Critical Infrastructure

The District’s water system contains over 53 miles of water distribution pipelines, five pump stations, eight water storage tanks, a water treatment plant, two groundwater wells, and one inter-tie with the Tahoe City Public Utility District. We provide nearly 1-million gallons of potable water per day to our customers.

The District’s wastewater system consists of over 73 miles of collection main pipeline, 7.5 miles of force main pipeline, four primary pump stations, and 16 secondary pump stations. We collect nearly 1-million gallons of wastewater per day and pump it to the Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency for treatment, in compliance with the Porter-Cologne Act of 1970.

The average age of the District’s utility infrastructure is now over 50-years old, and even with continuous maintenance and system investment, much of our system is approaching the end of its service life.

In 2017, the District’s developed a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that identified over $51-million in necessary system rehabilitation and replacement over the next 20-years. Since that time, the District has worked diligently to strategically invest in improvements and upgrades that have brought portions of our aging water and wastewater systems to modern standards. However, there is still more work to be done and our progress has been slowed significantly by the impacts of inflation.

ntpud excavator and water pipeline
cost per mile of water pipeline graphic

Building a Wildfire-Resilient Future for Lake Tahoe

As the primary water supplier for North Lake Tahoe, the District embraces its critical role in community wildfire protection. We are working to ensure that there is a fire hydrant on every neighborhood street and that we have the reliable and redundant water supply to provide the fire flow necessary to help defend our community against the threat of catastrophic wildfire. Improving water infrastructure for fire suppression is a top priority in the District’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Together with the Tahoe City PUD and South Tahoe PUD, the District is working hard to secure federal and state funding to support this important work. While these dollars allow the District to accelerate the pace and scale of projects completed, grants alone do not provide enough support for the necessary investments to protect our communities.

Our Planned System Upgrades & Improvement Projects

district planned improvement projects map

Click below for a detailed interactive map of the NTPUD’s completed capital investments and utility system upgrades.

1. Water Distribution Pipeline Replacement and Fire Protection Upgrades – Three (3) miles of water distribution pipelines identified for replacement and upgrade; will replace undersized and failing water pipelines with larger diameter modern pipelines to increase available fire protection flows; install new fire hydrants consistent with coverage requirements.

2. Water System Pump Station Improvements – Replacement and rehabilitation of pumps, motors, and motor control centers that have reached the end of their service life.

3. National Avenue Water Treatment Plant Upgrades – Complete necessary end-of-life equipment replacements and control system upgrades at the water treatment plant.

4. Smart Metering throughout the District – Replace aging water meters throughout the District’s three (3) water systems with modern smart meters. Smart meters will allow for remote collection of water use data — in real-time. This technology provides more accurate measurement, leak detection, and improved efficiency resulting in water savings.

5. Secondary Wastewater Pump Station Upgrades – Rehabilitate or replace eight (8) of the secondary stations that date to 1969 and have reached the end of their service life.

6. Wastewater Collection Main Rehabilitation – Rehabilitate three (3) miles of wastewater collection main pipeline that are showing signs of failure.

7. Wastewater Force Main Condition Assessment – Installed in 1968 and approaching the end of its service life; a comprehensive condition assessment of the District’s wastewater export force main pipeline to develop rehabilitation and service life extension recommendations.

8. District Fleet, Electrification, and Corporation Yard Improvements – Replace several pieces of heavy equipment and vehicles that have reached the end of their service life. The NTPUD fleet must move toward electrification in accordance with California Air Resources Board (CARB) Advanced Clean Fleet requirements, beginning in 2027. Upgrades and seismic retrofits to various corporation yard buildings and facilities.

Prioritizing Property Tax Revenue for Reinvestment

An important component of the District’s rate assessment, and long-term financial stability, is to shift the use of the District’s property tax revenues. Currently, the District utilizes a portion of our property tax revenues to subsidize the indirect operating costs of the water and wastewater utilities. The proposed rate adjustments allow the District to fund these operations through rate revenues and direct property tax revenue into critical infrastructure projects.

Rate Relief Assistance Program

Beginning in July 2024, the District will offer a structured Rate Relief Assistance Program to income-qualified customers who have their primary residence within the District. Details and qualifications for this new program will be available in Summer 2024.

Utility Rate Adjustments

Customer Bill Impacts

average water bill
average wastewater bill

The amount of the water bill is dependent on the actual amount of water used. Lower monthly water bills are possible via reduced monthly water consumption. Single family residential customers can calculate their projected monthly water bill, based on the new rates, by using the Utility Rate Calculator.

Current and New Water Rates

proposed water rates

Current and New Wastewater Rates

proposed wastewater rates

Rate Hearing Process

The NTPUD Rate Hearing was held on March 7, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.

The District’s water and wastewater rates fund operations, maintenance, and the construction of critical infrastructure. Proposition 218 requires the District to base its rates on the cost of providing water and wastewater services (including current and future infrastructure replacement) and mandates that the District may not collect more revenue than is necessary to recover the costs of providing those services.

The Board of Directors of the North Tahoe Public Utility District adopted adjustments to its monthly water and wastewater rates at a public hearing held on March 7, 2024, at 5:00 p.m., at the North Tahoe Event Center — 8318 North Lake Boulevard, Kings Beach, CA 96143.

The Board of Directors has established the new water and wastewater rates for Fiscal Years 2024/2025, 2025/2026, 2026/2027, 2027/2028, and 2028/2029. Final rates may be less than, but may not exceed, the proposed adjustments outlined in this notice.

Rate Assessment Documents and NTPUD Board Meeting Videos