What is changing?
Starting in October 2022, the typical City of Tulsa residential utility bill is expected to increase by about $7/month. These changes will be reflected on October bills that are received in November.
Water rates – No Change
Sewer rates – Increase by $3.13/month
Stormwater rates – Increase by 77 cents/month
Trash rates – Increase by $3.08/month
Why are rates increasing?
Inflation, supply chain delays, and increases in contract prices between the City and its vendors are the main reasons for the increase in utility rates.
1. Inflation – Inflation is impacting all sectors of the economy including the City of Tulsa’s ability to purchase goods and services. Water treatment chemicals have increased by 40%, energy prices have increased by 20%, paving repairs have increased by 20%, and equipment maintenance has increased 12% over last year. These increases have added millions more to the budget, and these costs are unavoidably passed on to utility rate payers.
2. Supply Chain – The City of Tulsa has numerous purchases for equipment, vehicles, materials and supplies that have been on hold waiting delivery, and while they wait, inflation and costs continue to increase. In some cases, purchases are limited to availability and usually come with an increased price.
3.Contracts – Some contractors, vendors and suppliers have not been able to honor existing contracts due to inflation or supply chain issues. This requires rebidding contracts resulting in a higher cost. The Tulsa Authority for Recovery of Energy (TARE) is entering into new contracts for disposal of waste and collection of trash and recycling. Contractors are bidding higher prices to cover their inflated costs, too, and the City is unavoidably having to pass these costs on to utility rate payers.
Who Can I Contact With Questions About My Bill?
If you have questions about specific charges on your bill, you can contact our Customer Care Center by calling 311 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call (918) 596-2100 with additional utility billing questions.
How can I lower my bill?
There are three main ways you can work to lower your bill, which include:
1. Reduce the size of your trash cart. If you have a 96-gallon trash cart and can accommodate having a reduction in your cart’s size to a 32 or 64-gallon cart, you will see immediate savings. For example, reducing your trash cart size from a 96-gallon to a 32-gallon cart will save you $3.60/month. Households may request a change in cart size at any time for a one-time $10 fee. The easiest way to request a change is to email email@example.com or call 311 during regular business hours. For more information on trash cart rates, sizes and premium services, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/trash.
2. Eliminate recycling contamination. One of the reasons the City is getting quoted more for recycling services is because of higher-than-normal contamination rates going into the sorting facility. For example, a single contaminated cart can result in the entire truckload full of recyclables having to be discarded. This results in an entire load not being able to be sorted and sold, which decreases revenues for the facility and the City, resulting in higher quotes to the City when contracts are re-negotiated. By reducing contamination and only recycling recyclables, you’re helping the City and the sorting facility negotiate the lowest rates possible that are reflected on your utility bill. For more information on what can and can’t be recycled, visit www.tulsarecycles.com.
3. Reduce your water consumption. Reducing your water consumption always has an impact on utility bills. By not using excess water, the water usage portion of your bill will be lower. To further impact your bill, try reducing your water usage especially in December, January, and February to reduce your sewer cap, which is recalculated each year in May based on the average water usage during those months based on the previous five-year period. More information on your sewer cap can be found at www.cityoftulsa.org/utilities. Please note, if you will be taking steps to reduce your water consumption, other fixed rates on your utility bill are going up. So even though you aren’t using more water - stormwater, sewer and trash rates are increasing on every utility bill for the typical residential customer by about $7/month.
How can I get help paying my bill?
There are three main ways to get help with your bill, namely:
1. If you’re behind on your bill, call 311 to setup a payment plan. If you find yourself behind on utility payments, you can call 311 to setup payment plan through the automated system so you are able to make your utility payments on time to avoid any potential service disruptions due to non-payment.
2. Call 211 for assistance. 2-1-1 has various resources to help individuals and families in need. You can text “HELP” to (877) 836-2111 for help with food, rent, utilities and more. For more information, visit https://csctulsa.org/211eok/.
3. Utilize the Tulsa Financial Empowerment Center. The City of Tulsa and Goodwill Industries of Tulsa have an entirely free way for anyone to get help managing their finances. To schedule a no-cost appointment with a financial counselor who can help you create a budget, get rid of debt, and stay on top of your finances, visit www.goodwilltulsa.org or call (918) 820-7279.