FAQ's About Proposed Rate Increases

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FAQ's About Proposed Rate Increases

On April 20, 2021, the AlexRenew Board of Directors approved for public notice proposed rate increases over the next two years (FY 2022 and 2023).

Why are sewer rates going up?

AlexRenew is proposing a two-year sewer rate adjustment to help fund the ongoing construction of the RiverRenew program scheduled for completion in late 2025. The adjustment will also support upgrades at our wastewater treatment facility to clean wastewater 24/7/365 and manage additional wet weather flows delivered as part of RiverRenew.

How much are the proposed rate increases?

Existing sewer rates are proposed to increase by 6.9 percent on July 1, 2021, and by 6.5 percent on July 1, 2022. An average residential customer may see a difference of about $4 per month for each of these increases, or an average increase of about $50 per year.

Fiscal Year

Beginning on

Maximum Rate Adjustment

2022

July 1, 2021

6.9 percent

2023

July 1, 2022

6.5 percent

Will residential and commercial customers see the same increase?

For commercial properties, increases for the base charge will be assessed based on the size of the meter. These increases generally align with the proposed 6.9% and 6.5% adjustments. See tables below.

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Proposed Rate Structure Chart

Are the rates increases approved?

Sewer rate increases are proposed to go into effect on July 1, 2021. AlexRenew will host a virtual public hearing on Saturday, May 22, 2021, starting at 9:30 a.m. to receive public comment on the proposed rate adjustment. Interested parties may register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CJ0e7HIjQFOkP5YtAYWMSA
 

Didn’t my bill already increase? 

This is the second sewer rate adjustment in support of RiverRenew. Sewer rate increases were implemented on July 1, 2019, and again on July 1, 2020. Future additional rate increases are anticipated until 2026 to pay for RiverRenew debt.

What is the RiverRenew program?

The RiverRenew program is the largest infrastructure project in Alexandria’s history and will prevent millions of gallons of combined sewage from polluting the Potomac River, Hunting Creek, and Hooffs Run each year. This will create safer, cleaner, healthier waterways for the community, wildlife, and future generations. Implementation of this historic program is a direct extension of AlexRenew’s vital mission to manage wastewater and keep the community healthy through healthier waterways. Learn more at RiverRenew.com. 

How much will RiverRenew cost?

The RiverRenew program will cost $615 million.

What will the rate increases be used for?

Rate increases will be used to pay off RiverRenew debt incurred through federal and state low-interest water loan programs. This debt will be paid off by AlexRenew over a long period of time, like a home mortgage.

Will my rates go back down again when this is finished?

Debt incurred by AlexRenew will be paid off over a long period of time, like a home mortgage. Therefore, rate increases are not anticipated to decrease after RiverRenew is completed.

Didn’t the Commonwealth of Virginia give financial support for RiverRenew? Will that bring our rates down?

In February 2019, the Virginia General Assembly authorized $25 million in grant funding for RiverRenew. AlexRenew and the City of Alexandria will continue to request grant funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia to reduce the financial burden on ratepayers.

I live outside the area of the combined sewers. Why should my rates be affected?

RiverRenew is a community project. We all benefit from the use of Alexandria’s wastewater systems. This is a significant investment in the health of our waterways that solves an issue for the entire city.

Is AlexRenew doing anything for families who can’t afford to pay their bills?

AlexRenew offers different options for customers who may struggle to pay their sewer bills, including extended payment plans and an assistance program. Customers who have challenges paying their AlexRenew bills can contact customer service at 703-721-3500 and select Option 1 (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or send an email to billing@alexrenew.com.

What about Fairfax County?

The parts of Fairfax County that are served by AlexRenew share in the costs of treating wastewater. Any rate increase associated with the ongoing operations and maintenance of AlexRenew will continue to be shared. For RiverRenew, certain components within the program address existing sewer system issues that will benefit Fairfax County. The costs of those projects will be shared between Fairfax County and residents of Alexandria. The components of the project which address existing sewer system issues that benefit Alexandria only will be paid for by Alexandria rate payers.

How does my bill break down? Is it based on how much water I use?

Your sewer bill includes two charges from AlexRenew. The first charge, a base charge, is a fixed charge based upon your meter size. The second charge, the wastewater treatment charge, is a volume charge that is based upon how much water you use and the expenses required to treat the wastewater produced from that volume.

The other charges on your bill are the City of Alexandria’s sanitary sewer system capital investment and maintenance fee. AlexRenew bills for this on behalf of the City of Alexandria and remits payment back to the City of Alexandria.

What about stormwater fees?

The Stormwater Utility Fee is assessed directly by the City of Alexandria and is based on a property’s impervious area, or hard surfaces like roofs and driveways that don't let rain runoff soak into the ground. Residential properties are billed a flat fee in their real estate tax bill based on the type of property. If you need more information about stormwater or stormwater fees, please visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/Stormwater.

Additional questions?

If you have any additional questions, we have a lot of information available on our website at www.alexrenew.com/know-your-rates. You can also contact the RiverRenew team at askriverrenew@alexrenew.com.