I have long advocated restructuring of water rates in Asheville, but after a conversation today (Earth Day in Biltmore) with Executive Director Avram Friedman, of the Canary Coaltion, I see that the project has to be more inclusive. Electric rates need restructuring as well.
City government only has direct control of water rates, so as a candidate for council I’m optimistic that I will be able to influence that matter first-hand. But council should also play a role in lobbying for the benefit of the community, and I’m eager to work on the electric issue as well.
In brief, the idea of the restructuring I support is to rewrite rates so as to encourage conservation. Today’s rates do exactly the opposite.
For water: I advocate what I call an “Uncap and Trade” policy which would give each household 100 gallons of water per day for free but raise the rates above that level to compensate for the cost. (The average household on the Asheville system uses 150 gallons per day.) Those who use less than their free allotment would earn tradeable credits that could be sold to larger water users. (To see a longer explanation of this plan, click here.)
For electric: we can easily do the same, making use above average more costly per kilowatt hour.
It is really quite simple to give people an incentive to conserve and the benefits will redound to the community in reduced pollution, conservation of essential resources, better health and lower bills.
Let’s do it, now.