First 1,500 gallons free no more: FUD rate hike reality

First Utility District’s customers are seeing an increase on their water rates upon opening their bills.

FUD’s Board of Commissioner’s recently approved a 3 percent rate increase with zero free usage for 2023, which began with bills mailed out after Jan. 1.

“In the past our minimum bill has included the first 1,500 gallon free; however, like ever other facet of society, our operating costs have greatly increased due to significant inflation,” FUD chief financial officer Kena Hyers said. “Examples of this are water treatment chemicals increased 145 percent, pipe and other infrastructure materials increased 40 percent and landfill tipping fees for biosolids increased 87 percent,” she said.

Hyers explained, “Previously the minimum bill was 1,500 gallons, meaning a customer did not get charged for any water and sewer until they used 1,500 gallons.

“In essence they were getting 1,500 gallons free each month,” she added. “We now are at zero, meaning the customer is now charged for all water and sewer used.”

Hyers pointed out other systems, such as Knoxville Utility Board, West Knox Utility District, Hallsdale-Powell Utility District and Knox Chapman, have been at a zero minimum bill for a number of years.

“Like these other systems, this means that First Utility is now charging for all the water supplied to the customer,” she said.

“It should also be noted that FUD’s 2023 rates are still significantly lower than the 2021 rates of other utilities, which is the latest available data for comparison, than any of the other systems in the area,” Hyers added.

FUD’s rates are listed on its website at