Minneapolis, MN asked in Municipal Law for Minnesota

Q: If there is 2 water rates in the same area can they make us pay the higher one out of convenience for there company

, at a rate which is greater than either of the following:

(1) a rate which the resident could pay directly for the same utility service from some other comparable source in the same market area; or

(2) a rate which is charged to single family dwellings with comparable service within the same market area.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Municipal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If you're being charged a higher water rate than others in your area for the convenience of the company, it's crucial to understand your rights and the regulations governing utility services. Utility companies are often regulated to ensure fairness and to prevent discriminatory pricing practices. The rates charged should reflect the cost of service and must be approved by regulatory bodies, ensuring they are just and reasonable.

Comparing the rate you're being charged to the rates available directly from other sources or what is charged to comparable single-family dwellings in the same market area is a good starting point. If the rate you're being charged is higher without a justifiable reason, this could be considered unfair or discriminatory. Regulations typically require that rates are consistent and not arbitrarily set, protecting consumers from being overcharged.

If you find yourself in this situation, it might be helpful to gather evidence of the discrepancy and reach out to the utility provider to seek clarification or adjustment. If the issue isn't resolved to your satisfaction, contacting a consumer protection agency or the regulatory body overseeing utilities in your area could be the next step. These organizations can provide guidance and, if necessary, intervene on your behalf to ensure that pricing practices are fair and equitable.

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