Hermiston Has Lowest Utility Burden

Release Date: 

Hermiston residents pay less for their basic utilities than similar users in comparable Eastern Oregon cities.  That’s the conclusion of an updated study of utility rates in Hermiston, The Dalles, Pendleton, La Grande, Baker City, and Ontario.

See a breakdown of the study and the full report HERE.

The study, conducted by the City of Hermiston, looks at the Total Utility Burden, or the sum of costs for water, sewer, electricity, and garbage for an average resident in each of the surveyed cities.  The current Total Utility Burden for the average residential user in Hermiston is $144 per month, $168 in Baker City, $181 in Ontario, $188 in La Grande, $206 in The Dalles, and $212 in Pendleton. 

The study is an update to one done in October, 2012, which showed Hermiston as the lowest-cost city.  Despite a 4% increase to water and sewer rates which took effect in Hermiston January 1, 2014, the affordability of Hermiston actually grew by 1% compared to the next-lowest-cost city.  Compared to the other cities, Ontario is the only one which actually narrowed the affordability gap since the last study.

The recent water and sewer rate increase is part of an overall 16% increase slated to take effect for those utilities in increments by July 1, 2015.  The study compared current Hermiston rates against current rates in other cities, but also compared Hermiston’s rates once the full 16% is implemented against the current rates of the other cities.  The result showed that the Total Utility Burden would still be lower in Hermiston than in any of the other cities.

The methodology of the study established an “average” user for each utility service, and then applied those usage figures through the billing structure of each of the cities.  This approach allows for an apples to apples comparison across cities by having a consistent metric.  The monthly averages take into account variations in seasonal billing, as well as tiered rate structures, and fluctuations in seasonal usage, but present a seasonally-smoothed average for an entire year.  For more information about the methodology of the study, as well as to see a further breakdown of the results, you can visit the City of Hermiston website at www.hermiston.or.us/finance/utility-burden.


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