Monday, January 11, 2016

Should Low Flush Toilet Users Pay a Higher Rate for Their Water?

Want to know what to do with El Paso Electric Company's rate hike proposals and attack on solar?

Western water blogger, John Fleck, informs us today about the fact that using low-flush toilets is helping to conserve water across the country:

"Every toilet currently in stock at my local Home Depot has the EPA WaterSense label, even the cheapest ones, meaning they use 1.28 gallons per flush or less. This is a big part of why we see water use – on a per capita basis, but also in some cases on an absolute basis – going down in the United States."

Before the Energy Policy Act of 1992, toilets used 3 to 5 gallons of water when flushing. After implementation, toilets have used just 1.6 gallons. Now comes the 1.28 gallon per flush toilet. As Fleck shows in his graphs, low flush toilets have really contributed to water conservation (and money savings by owners).

So, why doesn't the El Paso Water Utilities/Public Service Board follow the example of the El Paso Electric Company? Shouldn't low flush toilet owners be put in a separate class of rate-payers who must pay higher rates for their water? These customers are using less water, so according to EPEC's logic, they are not contributing their fair share to the costs of infrastructure.

EPEC wants to put rooftop solar users into a new rate class and make them pay for electrons at a higher rate. They argue that these nefarious solar panel owners are stealing from their neighbors because they don't pay their fair share for new capital projects which benefit EPEC shareholders - not to mention benefiting EPEC executives and board members who are richly compensated for coming up with more ways to make you and me pay more.

So, why doesn't EPWU follow the example of EPEC? I suggest it's because EPWU/PSB has honesty and integrity and is fully aware that water conservation means that there is less of a need for new infrastructure except what's required by water scarcity, a reality all of us share.


  1. Marshall Carter-TrippJanuary 11, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    I note in the story about all the cool new buildings coming our way that the Whole Foods Market will have solar panels on the roof of the building. Suppose that EPEC will be charging them extra for this act of piracy?

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