Most residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, particularly in smaller households, will see higher water and sewer bills after July 1, when a new rate structure takes effect at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

The bills also will reflect an overall 5 percent rate increase recently approved by the two county councils.

A home with one person using the typical 55 gallons of water per day will pay about $11 more per quarter, WSSC said. A household of three people, the utility’s most common customer, will pay about $4 more per quarter. Overall, about 70 percent of WSSC’s residential customers will see higher bills, the utility said.

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Larger households using the average amount of water daily probably will see a decrease, WSSC said. A home that uses 230 gallons per day — the equivalent of about four people — will pay about $6 less per quarter.

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WSSC changed its rate structure last year in response to a the Maryland Public Service Commission ruling in 2017 that its decades-old pricing system discriminates against larger households. Like other water utilities, WSSC encourages conservation by charging higher rates as customers use more water. But unlike other utilities, it bills the entire quarter’s usage at the rate of the highest-priced tier. Doing so results in larger households paying more per-gallon than smaller ones.

Under the new system, WSSC customers will pay the rate per 1,000 gallons only for the amount of water that bumps into each higher-priced tier.

WSSC’s online bill calculator allows customers to estimate the amount of their future bills under the new pricing system.

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